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SONGS OF THE SIERRAS. 



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Songs of the Sierras, 



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BY 



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JOAQUIN MILLKR. 




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TORONTO 



THE CANADIAN NEWS AND PUBLISHINCi CO. 



I 87 I. 



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THE NEW YORK 

PUBLIC LIBRARY 

73?830 

ASrOR, LENOX AND 
TIL9EN FOUNDATIONS 

R 1916 L 






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CONTENTS. 



£ 



PA6K 

Arizonian 7 

With Walker in Nicaragua ........ 23 

Californian 51 

The Last Taschastas . , 79 

Ina 93 

The Tale of the Tall Alcalde 129 

Kit Carson's Ride 161 

Burns and Byron V -; ^^ 

Myrrh '^17^ 

Even So 1S5 




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ARIZONIAN 



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Because the skies loere blue, because, 
The sun in fringes of the sea 
WorS tangled^ and delightfully 
Kept dancing on as in a waltz, 
And tropic trees boio'd to the seas, 
And bloomed and bore, gears through and through, 
And birds in blended gold and blue 
Were thick and sweet as sivarming bees, 
And sang as if in paradise, 
And all that paradise was spring — 
Did I too sing loith lifted eyes, 
Because T could not choose but sing. 

With garments full of sea-winds bloivn 

From isles beyond of spice and balm, 

Beside the sea, beneath her palm, 

She waits as true as chiselVd stone. 

My childhood^ s child ! my June in May ! 

So wiser than thy father is, 

These lines, these leaves, and all of this 

Are thine, — a loose, uncouth boquet. * 

So wait and watch for sail and sign ; 

A ship shall mount the hollow seas. 

Blown to thy place of blossom' d trees. 

And birds, and song, and summer-shine. 

I throw a kiss across the sea, 

I drink the winds as drinking ivine, 

And dream they all are bloionfrom thee : 

I catch the whisper'' d kiss of thine. 

Shall I return with lifted face, 

Or head held down as in disgrace, 

To hold thy two broion hands in mine ? 



England. 1871. 



SOJ^GS OF THE SIERRAS. 



ARIZONIAN. 

" A ND I have said, and I say it ever, 

-^^ As the years go on and the world goes over, 
'Twere better to be content and clever 
In tending of cattle and tossing of clover, 
In the grazing of cattle and the growing of grain, 
Than a strong man striving for fame or gain ; 
Be even as kine in the red-tipp'd clover ; 
For they lie down and their rests are rests, 
And the days are theirs, come sun come rain, 
To lie, rise up, and repose again ; 
While we wish, yearn, and do pray in vain, 
And hope to ride on the billows of bosoms, 
And hope to rest in the haven of breasts. 
Till the heart is sicken'd and the fair hope dead ; 
Be even as clover with its crown of blossoms, 
Even as blossoms are the bloom is shed, 
Kissed by kine and the brown sweet bee — 
For these have the sun, and moon, and air. 
And never a bit of the burthen of care ; 
And with all of our caring what more have we ? 
I would court content like a lover lonely, 
I would woo her, win her, and wear her only. 
And never go over this white sea wall 
For gold or glory or for aught at all." 

He said these things as he stood with the Squire 
By the river's rim in the fields of clover, 
While the stream flowed under and the clouds flew over, 



lO 



ARIZONIAN, 



With the sun tangled in and the fringes afire. 
So the Squire leaned with a kind desire 
To humor his guest, and to hear his story ; 
For his guest had gold, and he yet was clever. 
And mild of manner ; and, what was more, he, 
In the morning's ramble, had praised the kine. 
The clover's reach and the meadows fine. 
And so made the Squire his firiend for ever. 

His brow was brown'd by the sun and weather. 
And touched by the terrible hand of time ; 
His rich black beard had a fringe of rime. 
As silk and silver inwove together. 
There were hoops of gold all over his hands. 
And across his breast, in chains and bands. 
Broad and massive as belts of leather. 
And the belts of gold were bright in the sun. 
But brighter than gold his black eyes shone 
From their sad face-setting so swarth and dun. 
Brighter than beautiful Santan stone, 
Brighter even than balls of fire. 
As he said, hot-faced, in the face of the Squire : — 



" The pines bow'd over, the stream bent under 
The cabin cover'd with thatches of palm, 
Down in a canon so cleft asunder 
By sabre-stroke in the young world's prime, 
It look'd as broken by bolts of thunder, 
And bursted asunder and rent and riven 
By earthquakes, driven, the turbulent time 
A red cross lifted red hands to heaven. 
And this in the land where the sun goes down, 
And gold is gathered by tide and by stream. 
And maidens are brown as the cocoa brown. 
And a life is a love and a love is a dream ; 
Where the winds come in from the far Cathay 
With odor of spices and balm and bay, 
And summer abideth for aye and aye, 



ARIZONIAN. 1 1 

Nor comes in a tour with the stately June, 
And comes too late and returns too soon 
To the land of the sun and of summer's noon. 

" She stood in the shadows as the sun went down, 
Fretting her curls with her fingers brown, 
As tall as the silk-tipp'd tassePd com — 
Stood strangely watching as I weigh'd the gold 
We had wash'd that day where the river roird ; 
And her proud lip curl'd with a sun-clime scorn. 
As she ask'd, * Is she better or fairer than I ? — 
She, that blonde in the land beyond, 
Where the sun is hid and the seas are high — 
That you gather in gold as the years go on, 
And hoard and hide it away for her 
As a squirrel burrows the black pine-burr ?' 

" Now the gold weigh'd well, but was lighter of weight 
Than we two had taken for days of late, 
So I was fretted, and, brow a-frown, 
I said, * She is fairer, and I loved her first, 
And shall love her last come the worst to worst.' 
Now her eyes were black and her skin was brown, 
But her lips grew livid and her eyes afire 
As I said this thing : and higher and higher 
The hot words ran, when the booming thunder 
Peal'd in the crags and the pine-tops under. 
While up by the cliff in the murky skies 
It looked as the clouds had caught the fire — 
The flash and fire of her wonderful eyes. 

" She turned from the door and down to the river. 
And mirror'd her face in the whimsical tide ; 
Then threw back her hair, as if throwing a quiver. 
As an Indian throws it back far from his side 
And free from his hands, swinging fast to the shoulder, 
When rushing to battle ; and, rising, she sigh'd 
And shook, and shiver'd as aspens shiver. 



I 

\ 
\ 



12 ARIZONIAN. 

Then a great green snake slid into the river, 
Glistening, green, and with eyes of fire ; 
Quick, double-handed she seized a boulder, 
And cast it with all the fury of passion. 
As with lifted head it went curving across, 
Swift darting its tongue like a fierce desire. 
Curving and curving, lifting higher and higher, 
Bent and beautiful as a river moss ; 
Then, smitten, it turn'd, bent, broken and doubled. 
And lick'd, red-tongued, like a forked fire, 
And sank, and the troubled waters bubbled. 
And then swept on in their old swift fashion. 

" I lay in my hammock : the air was heavy 
And hot and threatening \ the very heaven 
Was holding its breath ; and bees in a bevy 
Hid under my thatch ; and birds were driven 
In clouds to the rocks in a hurried whirr 
As I peer'd down by the path for her. 
She stood like a bronze bent over the river. 
The proud eyes fix'd, the passion unspoken — 
When the heavens broke like a great dyke broken. 
Then, ere I fairly had time to give her 
A shout of warning, a rushing of wind 
And the rolling of clouds and a deafening din 
And a darkness that had been black to the blind 
Came down, as I shouted, * Come in ! Come in ! 
Come under the roof, come up fi^om the river,' 
As up from a grave — come now, or come never ! ' 
The tassel'd tops of the pines were as weeds. 
The red-woods rock'd like to lake-side reeds. 
And the world seem'd darkened and drowned for ever. 

" One time in the night as the black wind shifted, i 

And a flash of lightning stretch'd over the stream, \ 

I seem'd to see her with her brown hands lifted — 
Only seemed to see, as one sees in a dream — 
With her eyes wide wild and her pale lips pressed, 



ARIZONIAN. 13 

And the blood from her brow and the flood to her breast ; 
When the flood caught her hair as the flax in a wheel, 
And wheeling and whirling her round like a reel, 
Laughed loud her despair, then leapt long like a steed, 
Holding tight to her hair, folding fast to her heel, 
Laughing fierce, leaping far as if spurred to its speed . . 
Now mind, I tell you all this did but seem — 
Was seen as you see fearful scenes in a dream ; 
For what the devil could the lightning show 
In a night like that, I should like to know ! 

" And then I slept, and sleeping I dream'd 
Of great green serpents with tongues of fire. 
And of death by drowning, and of after death — 
Of the day of judgment, wherein it seem'd 
That she, the heathen, was bidden higher, 
Higher than I ; that I clung to her side. 
And clinging struggled, and struggling cried, 
And crying, waken'd, all weak of my breath. 

" Long leaves of the sun lay over the floor, 
And a chipmonk chirp'd in the open door. 
But above on his crag the eagle scream'd. 
Screamed as he never had screamed before. 
I rush'd to the river ; the flood had gone 
Like a thief, with only his tracks upon 
The weeds and grasses and warm wet sand ; 
And I ran after with reaching hand, 
And caird as I reach'd and reach'd as I ran, 
And ran till I came to the canon's van, 
Where the waters lay in a bent lagoon, 
Hooked and crook'd. like the horned moon. 

" Here in the surge where the waters met. 
And the warm wave lifted, and the winds did fret 
The wave till it foam'd with rag© on the land. 
She lay with the wave on the warm white sand ; 
Her rich hair traird with the trailing weeds, 



I 



14 ARIZONIAN, 

And her small brown hands lay prone or lifted 
As the wave sang strophes in the broken reeds, 
Or paused in pity, and in silence sifted 
Sands of gold, as upon her grave. 
And as sure as you see yon browsing kine, 
And breathe the breath of your meadows fine, 
When I went to my waist in the warm white wave 
And stood all pale in the wave to my breast, 
And reached for her in her rest and unrest, 
Her hands were lifted and reached to mine. 

" Now mind, I tell you I cried, * Come in ! 
Come in to the house, come out from the hollow, 
Come out of the storm, come up from the river !' 
Cried, and calFd, in that desolate din, j 



Though I did not rush out, and in plain words give her 

A wordy warning of the flood to follow, 

Word by word, and letter by letter : 

For she knew it as well as I, and better ; 

For once in the desert of New Mexico 

When I sought frantically far and wide 

For the famous spot where Apaches shot 

With bullets of gold their buffalo, 

And she followed faithfully at my side, 

I threw me down in the hard hot sand 
Utterly famished, and ready to die. 
And a speck arose in the red-hot sky — 
A speck no larger than a lady^s hand — 
While she at my side bent tenderly over, 
Shielding my face from the sun as a cover. 
And wetting my face, as she watch'd by my side. 
From a skin she had borne till the high noon-tide, 
(I had emptied mine in the heat of the morning) 
When the thunder mutter'd far over the plain 
Like a monster bound or a beast in pain. 
She sprang the instant, and gave the warning. 
With her brown hand pointed to the burning skies. 
I was too weak unto death to arise, 



\ 



ARIZONIAN. 15 

And I pra/d for death in my deep despair, 

And did curse and clutch in the sand in my rage, 

And bite in the bitter white ashen sage. 

That covers the desert Hke a coat of hair ; 

But she knew the peril, and her iron will, 

With a heart as true as the great North Star, 

Did bear me up to the palm-tipp'd hill, 

Where the fiercest beasts in a brotherhood, 

Beasts that had fled from the plain and far. 

In perfectest peace expectant stood. 

With their heads held high, and their limbs a-quiver ; 

And ere she barely had time to breathe 

The boiling waters began to seethe 

From hill to hill in a booming river. 

Beating and breaking from hill to hill — 

Even while yet the sun shot fire. 

Without the shield of a cloud above — 

Filling the cannon as you would fill 

A wine-cup, drinking in swift desire. 

With the brim new-kiss'd by the lips you love. 

" So you see she knew — knew perfectly well. 
As well as I could shout and tell, 
The mountains would send a flood to the plain, 
Sweeping the gorge like a hurricane. 
When the fire flashed, and the thunder fell. 
Therefore it is wrong, and I say therefore 
Unfair, that a mystical brown wing'd moth 
Or midnight bat should for evermore 
Fan my face with its wings of air, 
And follow me up, down everywhere, 
FUt past, pursue me, or fly before, 
Dimly limning in each fair place 
The full fix'd eyes and the sad brown face, 
So forty times worse than if we were wroth. 

" I gathered the gold I had hid in the earth. 
Hid over the door and hid under the hearth : 



1 6 ARIZONIAN. 

Hoarded and hid, as the world went over, 

For the love of a blonde by a sun-brown 'd lover ; 

And I said to myself, as I set my face 

To the east and afar from the desolate place, 

'She has braided her tresses, and through her tears 

Look'd away to the West, for years, the years 

That I have wrought where the sun tans brown ; 

She has waked by night, she has watch'd by day, 

She has wept and wonder'd at my delay, 

Alone and in tears, with her head held down, 

Where the ships sail out, and the seas swirl in, 

Forgetting to knit, and refusing to spin. 

She shall lift her head, she shall see her lover, 

She shall hear his voice like a sea that rushes, 

She shall hold his gold in her hands of snow, 

And down on his breast she shall hide her blushes, 

And never a care shall her true heart know. 

While the clods are below, or the clouds are above her.' 

" On the fringe of the night she stood with her pitcher 
At the old town-pump : and oh ! passing fair. 

* I am riper now,' I said, * but am richer,' 
And I lifted my hand to my beard and hair ; 

* I am burnt by the sun, I am browned by the sea ; 
I am white of my beard, and am bald, may be ; 
Yet for all such things what can her heart care?' 
Then she moved ; and I said, * How marvellous fair ! 
She look'd to the West, with her arm arch'd over ; 

* Looking for me, her sun-brown'd lover,' 
I said to myself, with a hot heart thump. 

And stepp'd me nearer to the storm-stain'd pump, 
As approaching a friend ; for t'was here of old 
Our troths were plighted and the tale was told. 

" How young she was and how fair she was ! 
How tall as a palm, and how pearly fair, 
As the night came down on her glorious hair ! 
Then the night grew deep and the eye grew dim, 



I 

\ 

I 



ARIZONIAN, 1 7 

And a sad-faced figure began to swim 

And float in my face, flit past, then pause, 

With her hands held up and her head held down, 

Yet face to face ; and her face was brown. 

Now why did she come and confront me there, 

With the mould on her face and the moist in her hair, 

And a mystical stare in her marvellous eyes ? 

I had called to her twice, * Come in ! come in ! 

Come out of the storm to the calm within !' 

Now, that is the reason that I make compl;jin 

That for ever and ever her face should arise, 

Facing face to face with her great sad eyes. 

I said then to myself, and I say it again. 

Gainsay it you, gainsay it who will, 

I shall say it over and over still. 

And will say it ever, for I know it true, 

That I did all that a man could do 

(Some good men's doings are done in vain) 

To save that passionate child of the sun. 

With her love as deep as the doubled main. 

And as strong and fierce as a troubled sea — 

That beautiful bronze with its soul of fire, 

Its tropical love and its kingly ire — 

That child as fix'd as a pyramid, 

As tall as a tula and as pure as a mm — 

And all there is of it the all I did, 

As often happens, was done in vain. 

So there is no bit of her blood on me. 

"*She is marvellous young and is wonderful fair,' 
I said again, and my heart grew bold. 
And beat and beat a charge for my feet. 
* Time that defaces us, places and replaces us, 
And trenches the faces as in furrows for tears, 
Has traced here nothing in all these years. 
Tis the hair of gold that I vex'd of old, 
The marvellous flowing flower of hair. 
And the peaceful eyes in their sweet surprise 



1 8 ARIZONIAN. 

That I have kissed till the head swam round, 
And the delicate curve of the dimpled chin, 
And the pouting lips and the pearls within 
Are the same, the same, but so young, so fair !' 
My heart leapt out and back at a bound. 
As a child that starts, then stops, then lingers. 

* How wonderful young !' I lifted my fingers 
And fell to counting the round years over 
That I had dwelt where the sun goes down. 
Four full hands, and a finger over ! 

' She does not know me, her truant lover,' 
I said to myself, for her brow was a-frown 
As I stepped still nearer, with my head held down. 
All abashed and in blushes my brown face over ; 
' She does not know me, her long-lost lover. 
For my beard^s so long and my skin's so brown. 
That I well might pass myself for another.' 
So I lifted my voice and I spoke aloud : 

* Annette, my darHng ! Annette Macleod !' 
She started, she stopp'd, she turn'd, amazed. 
She stood all wonder with her eyes wild-wide, 
Then turned in terror down the dusk wayside. 
And cried as she fled, * The man is crazed. 
And calls the maiden name of my mother !' 

" From a scene that saddens, from a ghost that wearies. 
From a white isle set in a wall of seas. 
From the kine and clover and all of these 
I shall set my face for the fierce Sierras. 
I shall make me mates on the stormy border, 
I shall beard the grizzly, shall battle again, 
And from mad disorder shall mould me order 
And a wild repose for a weary brain. 

" Let the world turn over, and over, and over, 
And toss and tumble like a beast in pain. 
Crack, quake, and tremble, and turn full over 
And die, and never rise up again ; 



\ 



ARIZONIAN. 19 

Let her dash her peaks through the purple cover, 

Let her plash her seas in the face of the sun — 

I have no one to love me now, not one. 

In a world as full as a world can hold ; 

So I will get gold as I erst have done, 

I will gather a coffin top-full of gold, 

To take to the door of Death, to buy 

Content, when I double my hands and die. 

There is nothing that is, be it beast or human. 

Love of maiden or the lust of man. 

Curse of man or the kiss of woman. 

For which I care or for which I can 

Give a love for a love or a hate for a hate, 

A curse for a curse or a kiss for a kiss. 

Since life has neither a bane nor a bliss, 

To one that is cheek by jowl with fate \ 

For I have lifted and reached far over 

To the tree of promise, and have pluck'd of all 

And ate — ate ashes, and myrrh, and gall. 

Go down, go down to the fields of clover, 

Down with the kine in the pastures fine. 

And give no thought, or care, or labor 

For maid or man, good name or neighbor ; 

For I have given, and what have I ? — 

Given all my youth, my years, and labor. 

And a love as warm as the world is cold. 

For a beautiful, bright, and delusive lie. 

Gave youth, gave years, gave love for gold. 

Giving and getting, yet what have I 

But an empty palm and a face forgotten, 

And a hope that's dead, and a heart that's rotten ? 

Red gold on the waters is no part bread. 

But sinks dull-sodden like a lump of lead, 

, And returns no more in the face of Heaven. 

j So the dark day thickens at the hope deferr'd. 

And the strong heart sickens and the soul is stirfd 
( Like a weary sea when his hands are lifted, 

j Imploring peace, with his raiment drifted 



/ 



fi 



20 ARIZONIAN. 

And driven afar and rent and riven. 

" The red ripe stars hang low overhead, 
Let the good and the light of soul reach up, 
Pluck gold as plucking a butter-cup : 
But I am as lead and my hands are red ; 
There is nothing that is that can wake one passion 
In soul or body, or one sense of pleasure, 
No fame or fortune in the world's wide measure, 
Or love full-bosomed or in any fashion. 

" The doubled sea, and the troubled heaven, 
Starr'd and barred by the bolts of fire, ^ 

In storms where stars are riven, and driven 
As clouds through heaven, as a dust blown higher ; 
The angels hurl'd to the realms infernal, 
Down from the walls in unholy wars, 
That man misnameth the falling stars ; 
The purple robe of the proud Eternal, 
The Tyrian blue with its fringe of gold, 
Shrouding His countenance, fold on fold — 
All are dull and tame as a tale that is told. 
For the loves that hasten and the hates that linger, 
The nights that darken and the days that glisten, 
And men that lie and maidens that listen, 
I care not even the snap of my finger. 

" So the sun climbs up, and on, and over. 
And the days go out and the tides come in. 
And the pale moon rubs on the purple cover 
Till worn as thin and as bright as tin ; 
But the ways are dark and the days are dreary. 
And the dreams of youth are but dust in age. 
And the heart gets harden'd, and the hands grow weary 
Holding them up for their heritage. 

" And the strained heart-strings wear bare and brittle, 
And the fond hope dies when so long deferred ; 
Then the fair hope lies in the heart interred. 



ARIZONIAN. 2 1 

So stiff and cold in its coffin of lead. 

For you promise so great and you gain so little ; 

For you promise so great of glory and gold, 

And gain so little that the hands grow cold ; 

And for gold and glory you gain instead 

A fond heart sicken'd and a fair hope dead. 

" So I have said, and I say it over, 
And can prove it over and over again, 
That the four-footed beasts on the red-crown'd clover. 
The pied and horned beasts on the plain 
That lie down, rise up, and repose again. 
And do never take care or toil or spin, 
Nor buy, nor build, nor gather in gold, 
Though the days go out and the tides come in. 
Are better than we by a thousand fold ; 
For what is it all, in the words of fire. 
But a vexing of soul and a vain desire ?" 



i\ 



rj 



WITH WALKER IN NICARAGUA. 



}'» 



Come to my sun land ! Come with me 
To the land I love ; where the sun and sea 
Are wed forever : where palm and pine 
Are filled with singers ; where tree and vine 
Are voiced with prophets I come^ and you 
Shall sing a song with the seas that swirl 
And kiss their hands to the cold white girl, 
To tJie maiden moon i?i lier mantle of blue. 



■ 

I 



I 



WITH WALKER IN NICARAGUA. 



H' 



I. 

"E was a brick : let this be said 
Above my brave dishonored dead. 
I ask no more, this is not much, 
Yet I disdain a colder touch 
To memory as dear as his ; 
For he was true as any star, 
And brave as Yuba's grizzlies are. 
Yet gentle as a panther is. 
Mouthing her young in her first fierce kiss ; 
Tall, courtly, grand as any king. 
Yet simple as a child at play, 
In camp and court the same alway. 
And never moved at anything ; 
A dash of sadness in his air, 
Born, may be, of his own care. 
And, may be, born of a despair 
In early love — I never knew ; 
I questioned not, as many do, 
Of things as sacred as this is ; 
^ I only knew that he to me 

V Was all a father, friend, could be ; 

I sought to know no more than this 
f Of history of him or his. 

A piercing eye, a princely air, 
A presence like a chevalier. 
Half angel and half Lucifer ; 
Fair fingers, jewell'd manifold 

3 



J 




26 WITH WALKER 

With great gems set in hoops of gold ; 
Sombrero black, with plume of snow 
That swept his long silk locks below ; 
A red serape with bars of gold, 
Heedless falling, fold on fold ; 
A sash of silk, where flashing swung 
A sword as swift as serpent's tongue, 
In sheath of silver chased in gold ; 
A face of blended pride and pain. 
Of mingled pleading and disdain. 
With shades of glory and of grief; 
And Spanish spurs with bells of steel 
That dash'd and dangl'd at the heel — 
The famous filibuster chief 
Stood by his tent 'mid tall brown trees 
That top the fierce Cordilleras, 
With brawn arm arch'd above his brow ; 
Stood still — he stands, a picture, now — 
Long gazing down the sunset seas. 



II. 

What strange strong bearded men were these 

He led toward the tropic seas ! 

Men sometime of uncommon birth, 

Men rich in histories untold. 

Who boasted not, though more than bold. 

Blown from the four parts of the earth. 

Men mighty-thew'd as Sampson was, 

That had been kings in any cause, 

A remnant of the races past ; 

Dark-brow^d as if in iron cast, 

Broad-breasted as twin gates of brass, — 

Men strangely brave and fiercely true. 

Who dared the West when giants were. 

Who err'd, yet bravely dared to err ; 

A remnant of that early few 

Who held no crime or curse or vice 



i 



IN NICARA GUA, 27 

As dark as that of cowardice ; 
With blendings of the worst and best 
Of faults and virtues that have blest 
Or cursed or thrill'd the human breast. 

They rode, a troop of bearded men, 
Rode two and two out from the town, 
And some were blonde and some were brown 
And all as brave as Sioux ; but when 
From San Bennetto south the line 
That bound them in the laws of men 
Was passed, and peace stood mute behind 
And streamed a banner to the wind 
The world knew not, there was a sign 
Of awe, of silence, rear and van. 
Men thought who never thought before ; 
I heard the clang and clash of steel 
From sword at hand or spur at heel 
And iron feet, but nothing more. 
Some thought of Texas, some of Maine, 
But more of rugged Tennessee, — 
Of scenes in Southern vales of wine. 
And scenes in Northern hills of pine 
As scenes they might not meet again ; 
And one of Avon thought, and one 
Thought of an isle beneath the sun, 
And one of Rowley, one the Rhine, 
And one turned sadly to the Spree. 

Defeat meant something more than death : 
The world was ready, keen to smite. 
As stern and still beneath its ban 
With iron will and bated breath. 
Their hands against their fellow-man. 
They rode — each man an Ishmaelite. 
But when we struck the hills of pine, 
These men dismounted, doffed their cares, 
Talked loud and laughed old love affairs. 



28 WITH WALKER 

And on the grass took meat and wine. 
And never gave a thought again 
To land or life that lay behind, 
Or love, or care of any kind 
Beyond the present cross or pain. 

And I, a waif of stormy seas, 
A child among such men as these, 
Was blown along this savage surf 
And rested with them on the turf, 
And took delight below the trees. 
I did not question, did not care 
To know the right or wrong. I saw 
That savage freedom had a sptll, 
And loved it more than I can tell, 
And snapped my fingers at the law. 
I bear my burden of the shame, — 
I shun it not, and naught forget, 
However much I may regret : 
I claim some candor to my name, 
And courage cannot change or die. — 
Did they deserve to die ? they died. 
Let justice then be satisfied. 
And as for me, why what am 1 ? 

The standing side by side till death, 
The dying for some Abounded friend, 
The faith that failed not to the end, 
The strong endurance till the breath 
And body took their ways apart, 
I only know. I keep my trust. 
Their vices ! earth has them by heart. 
Their virtues ! they are with their dust. 
How wound we through the solid wood, 
With all its broad boughs hung in green. 
With lichen-mosses trail'd between ! 
How waked the spotted beasts of prey. 
Deep sleeping from the face of day, 



I 



V'si 



IN NICARA G UA, 29 

And dash'd them like a troubled flood 
Down some defile and denser wood ! 

And snakes, long, lithe and beautiful 
As green and graceful bough'd bamboo. 
Did twist and twine them through and through 
The boughs that hung red-fruited full. 
One, monster-sized, above me hung, 
Close eyed me with his bright pink eyes, 
Then raised his folds, and, sway'd and swung, 
And lick'd like lightning his red tongue, 
Then oped his wide mouth with surprise ; 
He writhed and curved, and raised and lower'd 
His folds like liftings of the tide, 
And sank so low 1 touched his side. 
As I rode by, with my broad sword. 

The trees shook hands high overhead. 
And bow'd and intertwined across 
The narrow way, while leaves and moss 
And luscious fruit, gold-hued and red. 
Through all the canopy of green. 
Let not one sunshaft shoot between. 

Birds hung and swung, green-robed and red, 
Or drooped in curved lines dreamily, 
Rainbows reversed, from tree to tree. 
Or sang low-hanging overhead — 
Sang low, as if they sang and slept. 
Sang faint, like some far waterfall. 
And took no note of us at all, 
Though nuts that in the way were spread 
Did crush and crackle as we stept. 

Wild lilies, tall as maidens are. 
As sweet of breath, as pearly fair, 
As fair as faith, as pure as truth, 
Fell thick before our every tread. 



I 



30 WITH WALKER 

As in a sacrifice to ruth, 

And all the air with perfume fiird 

More sweet than ever man distiird. 

The ripen'd fi^it a fragrance shed 

And hung in hand-reach overhead, 

In nest of blossoms on the shoot, . 

The bending shoot that bore the fruit. | 

How ran the monkeys through the leaves I 
How rush'd they through, brown clad and blue, 
Like shuttles hurried through and through 
The threads a hasty weaver weaves ! 

How quick they cast us fruits of gold. 
Then loosen'd hand and all foothold, 
And hung limp, limber, as if dead. 
Hung low and listless overhead ; 
And all the time, with half-oped eyes 
Bent full on us in mute surprise — 
Look'd wisely too, as wise hens do 
That watch you with the head askew. 

The long days through from blossom'd trees 
There came the sweet song of sweet bees. 
With chorus-tones of cockatoo 
That slid his beak along the bough, 
And walk'd and talk'd and hung and swung, 
In crown of gold and coat of blue. 
The wisest fool that ever sung, 
Or had a crown, or held a tongue. 

Oh when we broke the sombre wood 
And pierced at last the sunny plain. 
How wild and still with wonder stood, 
The proud mustangs with bannered mane. 
And necks that never knew a rein, 

And nostrils lifted high and blown, _ 

Fierce breathing as a hurricane : 

( 



u 



IN NICARAGUA. 31 

Yet by their leader held the while 

In solid column, square and file, 

And ranks more martial than our own I 

Some one above the common kind, 
Some one to look to, lean upon, 
I think is much a woman's mind ; 
But it was mine and I had drawn 
A rein beside the chief while we 
Rode through the forest leisurely ; 
When he grew kind and questioned me 
Of kindred, home, and home affair, 
Of how I came to wander there, 
And had my father herds and land 
And men in hundreds at command ? 
At which I silent shook my head, 
Then, timid, met his eyes and said, 
" Not so. Where sunny-foot hills run 
Down to the North Pacific sea, 
And Willamette meets the sun 
In many angles, patiently 
My father tends his flocks of snow, 
And turns alone the mellow sod 
And sows some fields not over broad. 
And mourns my long delay in vain. 
Nor bids one serve-man come or go ; 
While mother from her wheel or churn. 
And may be from the milking shed, - 
There lifts an humble weary head 
To watch and wish for my return 
Across the camas' blossomed plain." 

He held his bent head very low, 
A sudden sadness in his air ; 
Then turned and touched my yellow hair 
And took the long locks in his hand, 
Toyed with them* smiled, and let them go, 
Then thrunmied about his saddle bow 
As thought ran swift across his face ; 



\ 



32 WITH WALKER 

Then turning sudden from his place, 
He gave some short and quick command. 
They brought the best steed of the band, 
They swung a bright sword at my side, 
He bade me mount and by him ride. 
And from that hour to the end 
I never felt the need of friend. 

Far in the wildest quinine wood 
We found a city old — so old, 
Its very walls were tum'd to mould. 
And stately trees upon them stood. 
No history has mentioned it, 
No map has given it a place ; 
The last dim trace of tribe and race — 
The world^s forgetfulness is fit. 



It held one structure grand and moss'd, 
Mighty as any castle sung, 
And old when oldest Ind was young, 
With threshold Christian never crossed ; 
A temple builded to the sun. 
Along whose sombre altar-stone 
Brown bleeding virgins had been strown 
Like leaves, when leaves are crisp and dun, 
In ages ere the Sphinx was born. 
Or Babylon had birth or morn. 

My chief led up the marble step — 
He ever led, broad blade in hand — 
When down the stones, with double hand 
Clutch'd to his blade, a savage leapt, 
Hot bent to barter life for life. 
The chieftain drove his bowie knife 
Full through his thick and broad breast-bone, 
And broke the point against the stone, 
The dark stone of the temple wall. 
I saw him loose his hold and fall 



IN NICARA G UA. n 

Full length with head held down the step ; 

I saw run down a ruddy flood 

Of rushing pulsing human blood, 

Then from the crowd a woman crept 

And kiss*d the gory hands and face, 

And smote herself Then one by one 

The dark crowd crept and did the same, 

Then bore the dead man from the place. 

Down darkened aisles the brown priests came, 

So picture-like with sandall'd feet 

And long gray dismal grass-wove gowns, 

So like the pictures of old time. 

And stood all still and dark of frowns. 

At blood upon the stone and street. 

So we laid ready hand to sword 

And boldly spoke some bitter word ; 

But they were stubborn still, and stood 

Dark frowning as a winter wood, 

And mutt'ring something of the crime 

Of blood upon the temple stone. 

As if the first that it had known. 

We turned toward the massive door 
With clash of steel at heel, and with 
Some swords all red and ready drawn. 
I traced the sharp edge of my sword 
Along the marble wall and floor 
For crack or crevice ; there was none. 
From one vast mount of marble stone 
The mighty temple had been cored 
By nut-brown children of the sun, 
When stars were newly bright and blithe 
Of song along the rim of dawn, 
A mighty marble monolith ! 



34 WITH WALKER 



III. 



Through marches through the mazy wood, 
And may be through too much of blood, 
At last we came down to the seas. 
A city stood, white-walFd, and brown 
With age, in nest of orange trees ; 
And this we won, and many a town 
And rancho reaching up and down, 
Then rested in the red-hot days 
Beneath the blossom'd orange trees, 
Made drowsy with the drum of bees, 
And drank in peace the south-sea breeze. 
Made sweet with sweeping boughs of bays. 

Well ! there were maidens, shy at first, 
And then, ere long, not over shy, 
Yet pure of soul and proudly chare. 
No love on earth has such an eye ! 
No land there is is bless'd or curs'd 
With such a limb or grace of face. 
Or gracious form, or genial air ! 
In all the bleak North-land not one 
Hath been so warm of soul to me 
As coldest soul by that warm sea. 
Beneath the bright hot centred sun. 

No lands where any ices are 
Approach, or ever dare compare 
With warm loves born beneath the sun. 
The one the cold white steady star. 
The lifted shifting sun the one. 
I grant you fond, I grant you fair, 
I grant you honor, trust and truth, 
And years as beautiful as youth. 
And many years beyond the sun. 
And faith as fix'd as any star ; 



IN NICARA GUA. 35 

But all the North-land hath not one 
So warm of soul as sun-maids are. 

I was but in my boyhood then, 
I count my fingers over, so, 
And find it years and years ago, 
And I am scarcely yet of men. 
But I was tall and lithe and fair, 
With rippled tide of yellow hair, 
And prone to mellowness of heart ; 
While she was tawny-red like wine. 
With black hair boundless as the night. 
As for the rest I knew my part, 
At least was apt, and willing quite 
To learn, to listen, and incline 
To teacher warm and wise as mine. 

O bright, bronzed maidens of the sun ! 
So fairer far to look upon 
Than curtains of the Solomon, 
Or Kedar's tents, or any one. 
Or any thing beneath the sun ! 
What followed then ? What has been done, 
And said, and writ, and read, and sung ? 
What will be writ and read again. 
While love is life, and life remain ? — 
White maids will heed, and men have tongue ? 

What followed then ? But let that pass. 
I hold one picture in my heart. 
Hung curtain'd, and not any part 
Of all its dark tint ever has 
Been look'd upon by any one. 
But if, may be, one brave and strong 
As liftings of the bristled sea 
Steps forth from out the days to be 
And knocks heart-wise, and enters bold 
A rugged heart inured to wrong — 



36 WITH WALKER 

As one would storm a strong stronghold— 
Strong-footed, and most passing fair 
Of truth, and thought beyond her years, 
We two will lift the crape in tears, 
Will turn the canvas to the sun, 
Will trace the features one by one 
Of my dear dead, in still despair. 

Love well who will, love wise who can. 
But love,. be loved, for God is love ; 
Love pure, like cherubim above ; 
Love maids, and hate not any man. 
Sit as sat we by orange tree. 
Beneath the broad bough and grape-vine 
Top-tangled in the tropic shine, 
Close face to face, close to the sea. 
And full of the red-centered sun. 
With grand sea-songs upon the soul, 
RolFd melody on melody. 
Like echoes of deep organ's roll. 
And love, nor question any one. 

If God is love, is love not God ? 
As high priests say, let prophets sing, 
Without reproach or reckoning; 
This much I say, knees knit to sod, 
And low voice lifted, questioning. 

Let eyes be not dark eyes, but dreams. 
Or drifting clouds with flashing fires, 
Or far delights, or fierce desires. 
Yet not be more than well beseems ; 
Let hearts be pure and strong and true, 
Let lips be luscious and blood-red, 
Let earth in gold be garmented 
And tented in her tent of blue. 
Let goodly rivers glide between 
Their leaning willow wails of green, 



{ 



-.1 



V 



IN NICARAGUA. 37 

Let all things be filVd of the sun, 
And full of warm winds of the sea, 
And I beneath my vine and tree 
Take rest, nor war with any one ; 
Then I will thank God with full cause, 
Say this is well, is as it was. 

Let lips be red, for God has said 
Love is like one gold-garmented, 
And made them so for such a time. 
Therefore let lips be red, therefore 
Let love be ripe in ruddy prime. 
Let hope beat high, let hearts be true, 
And you be wise thereat, and you 
Drink deep, and ask not any more. 

Let red lips lift, proud curl'd, to kiss. 
And round limbs lean and raise and reach 
In love too passionate for speech, 
Too full of blessedness and bliss 
For anything but this and this ; 
Let luscious lips lean hot to kiss 
And swoon in love, while all the air 
Is redolent with balm of trees. 
And mellow with the song of bees, 
While birds sit singing ever3rwhere — 
And you will have not any more 
ITian I in boyhood, by that shore 
Of olives, had in years of yore. 

Let the unclean think things unclean ; 
I swear tip-toed, with lifted hands. 
That we were pure as sea-washed sands, 
That not one coarse thought came between ; 
Believe or disbelieve who will, 
Unto the pure all things are pure ; 
As for the rest, I can endure 
Alike their good will or their ill. 



38 WITH WALKER 

She boasted Montezuma's blood, ; 

Was pure of soul as Tahoe's flood, I 

And strangely fair and princely soul'd, 
And she was rich in blood and gold — 
More rich in love grown over-bold 
From its own consciousness of strength. 
How warm ! Oh, not for any cause 
Could I declare how warm she was. 
In her brown beauty and hair's length. 
We loved in the sufficient sun, 
We lived in element of fire, 
For love is fire and fierce desire ; 
Yet lived as pure as priest and nun, 

We lay slow rocking in the bay 
In birch canoe beneath the crags 
Thick, topp'd with palm, like sweeping flags 
Between us and the burning day. 
The red-eyed crocodile lay low 
Or lifted firom his rich rank fern. 
And watch'd us and the tide by turn. 
And we slow cradled to and fro. 

And slow we cradled on till night, 
And told the old tale, overtold. 
As misers in recounting gold 
Each time do take a new delight. 
With her pure passion-given grace 
She drew her warm self close to me ; 
And, her two brown hands on my knee. 
And her two black eyes in my face, 
She then grew sad and guess'd at ill, 
And in the future seemed to see 
With woman's ken of prophecy ; 
Yet profler'd her devotion still. 
And plaintive so, she gave a sign, 
A token cut of virgin gold. 
That all her tribe should ever hold 



j 



IN NICARA G UA. 39 

Its wearer as some one divine, 

Nor touch him with a hostile hand. 

And I in turn gave her a blade, 

A dagger, worn as well by maid 

As man, in that half-lawless land ; 

It had a massive silver hilt. 

Had a most keen and cunning blade, 

A gift by chief and comrades made 

For reckless blood at Rivas spilt. 

" Show this," said I, " too well 'tis known, 

And worth an hundred lifted spears, 

Should ill beset your sunny years ; 

There is not one in Walker's band, 

But at the sight of this alone, 

Will reach a brave and ready hand. 

And make your right or wrong his own." 



IV. 



Love while 'tis day ; night cometh soon, 
Wherein no man or maiden may \ 
Love in the strong young prime of day ; 
Drink drunk with love in ripe red noon, 
Red noon of love and life and sun ; 
Walk in love's light as in sunshine. 
Drink in that sun as drinking wine. 
Drink swift, nor question any one ; 
For love changes sure as man or moon, 
And wane like warm full days of June. 

O Love, so fair, of promises. 
Bend here thy brow, blow here thy kiss. 
Bend here thy brow above the storm 
But once, if only this once more. 
Comes there no patient Christ to save, 
Touch and re-animate thy form 
Long three days dead and in the grave ? 



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IN NICARAGUA. 41 

I lifted my two hands on high 
With wild soul plashing to the sky, 
And cried, " O more than crowns to nie 
Farewell at last to love and thee I" 
I walked the deck, I kiss'd my hand 
Back to the far and fading shore, 
And bent a knee as to implore, 
Until the last dark head of land 
Slid down behind the dimpled sea. 
At last I sank in troubled sleep, 
A very child, rock'd by the deep, 
Sad questioning the fate of her 
Before the savage conqueror. 

The loss of comrades, power, place, 
A city wall'd, cool shaded ways. 
Cost me no care at all ; somehow 
I only saw her sad brown face. 
And — I was younger then than now. 

Red flash'd the sun across the deck, 
Slow flapped the idle sails, and slow 
The black ship cradled to and fro. 
Afar my city lay, a speck 
Of white against a line of blue ; 
Around, half lounging on the deck. 
Some comrades chatted two by two. 
I held a new-fill'd glass of wine. 
And with the mate talk'd as in play, 
Of fierce events of yesterday, 
Tq coax his light life into mine. 

He jerk'd the wheel, as slow he said, 
Low laughing with averted head, 
And so, half sad : " You bet they'll fight ; 
They followed in canim, canoe, 
A perfect fleet, that on the blue 
Lay dancing till the mid of night. 

5 



1 



42 WITH WALKER 

Would you believe I one little cuss — 
(He tum'd his stout head slow sidewise, 
And *neath his hat-rim took the skies) — 
'* In petticoats did follow us 
The livelong night, and at the dawn 
Her boat lay rocking in the lee, 
Scarce one short pistol-shot from me." 
This said the mate, half mournfully, 
Then peck*d at us ; for he had drawn, 
By bright light heart and homely wit, 
A knot of us around the wheel, 
Which he stood whirling like a reel. 
For the still ship reck'd not of it. 

" And Where's she now ?'' one careless said. 
With eyes slow lifting to the brine, 
Swift swept the instant far by mine ; 
The bronzed mate listed, shook his head, 
Spirted a stream of amber wide 
Across and over the ship side, 
Jerk*d at the wheel, and slow replied : 

" She had a dagger in her hand. 
She rose, she raised it, tried to stand, 
But fell, and so upset herself ; 
Yet still the poor brown savage elf, 
Each time the long light wave would toss 
And lift her form from out the sea, 
Would shake a strange bright blade at me, 
With rich hilt chased a cunning cross. 
At last she sank, but still the same 
She shook her dagger in the air, 
As if to still defy and dare. 
And sinking seem'd to call your name." 

I dash'd my wine against the wall, 
J ru^h'd across the deck, and all 
The sea 1 swept and swept again. 



■\ 



T 

I 



\ 



IN NICARA G UA. ^a 

With lifted hand, with eye and glass, 
But all was idle and in vain. 
I saw a red-biird sea-gull pass, 
A petrel sweeping round and round, 
I heard the far white sea-surf sound, 
But no sign could I hear or see 
Of one so more than seas to me. 

I cursed the ship, the shore, the sea, 
The brave brown mate, the bearded men ; 
I had a fever then, and then 
Ship, shore and sea were one to me ; 
And weeks we on the dead waves lay, 
And I more truly dead than they. 
At last some rested on an isle ; 
The few strong-breasted with a smile 
Returning to the sunny shore. 
Scarce counting of the pain or cost, 
Scarce recking if they won or lost ; 
They sought but action, ask'd no more ; 
They counted life but as a game. 
With full per cent against them, and 
Staked all upon a single hand, 
And lost or won, content the same. 

I never saw my chief again, 
I never sought again the shore, 
Or saw my white-walFd city more. 
I could not bear the more than pain 
At sight of blossom'd orange trees 
Or blended song of birds and bees, 
The sweeping shadows of the palm 
Or spicy breath of bay and balm. 
And, striving to forget the while, 
I wander'd through the dreary isle, 
Here black with juniper, and there 
Made white with goats in summer coats, 
The only things that anywhere 






44 WITH WALKER 

^Ve found with life in all the land. 
Save birds that ran long-biird and brown, 
Long-legg'd and still as shadows are. 
Like dancing shadows, up and down 
The sea-rim on the sweltering sand. 

The warm sea laid his dimpled face, 
With every white hair smoothed in place, j 

As if asleep against the land ; ] 

Great turtles slept upon his breast, 
As thick as eggs in any nest ; 
I could have touched them with my hand. 

» ♦ # * * 

***** 

I would some things were dead and hid, 
Well dead and buried deep as hell, 
With recollection dead as well, 
And resurrection (Jod-forbid. 
They irk me with their weary spell 
Of fascination, eye to eye, 
And hot mesmeric serpent hiss, 
Through all the dull eternal days. 
Let them turn by, go on their ways. 
Let them depart or let me die ; 
For life is but a beggar's lie, 
And as for death, I grin at it ; 
I do not care one whiff or whit 
Whether it be or that or this. 

I give my hand ; the world is wide ; 
Then farewell memories of yore, 
Between us let strife be no more ; 
Turn as you choose to either side ; 
Say, Fare-you-well, shake hands and say- 
Speak loud, and say with stately grace, 

Hand clutching hand, face bent to face 

Farewell for ever and a day. 



IN NICARA G UA. 45 

O passion-toss'd and bleeding past. 
Part now, part well, part wide apart. 
As ever ships on ocean slid 
Down, down the sea, hull, sail, and mast ; 
And in the album of my heart 
Let hide the pictures of your face, 
With other pictures in their place, 
Slid over like a coffin's lid. 



# # # * * 

The days and grass grow long together ; 
They now fell short and crisp again, 
And all the fair face of the main 
Grew dark and wrinkled at the weather. 
Through all the summer sun's decline 
Fell news of triumphs and defeats, 
Of hard advances, hot retreats - - 
Then days and days and not a Hne. 

. At last one night they came. I knew 
Ere yet the boat had touch'd the land 
That all was lost ; they were so few 
I near could count them on one hand ; 
But he the leader led no more. 
The proud chief still disdain'd to fly. 
But, like one wrecked, clung to the shore, 
And struggled on, and struggling fell 
From power to a prison-cell. 
And only left that cell to die. 



My recollection, like a ghost, 
(joes from this sea to that sea-side, 
(ioes and returns as turns the tide. 
Then turns again unto the coast. 
I know not which I mourn the most, 
My brother or my virgin bride, 
My chief or my un wedded wife. 



46 IVfTH WALKER 

The one was as the lordly sun, 
To joy in, bask in, and admire ; 
The peaceful moon was as the one, 
To love, to look to, and desire ; 
And both a part of my young life. 

***** 

Years after, shelter'd from the sun 
Beneath a Sacramento bay, 
A black Muchacho by me lay 
Along the long grass crisp and dun, 
His brown mule browsing by his side. 
And told with all a Peon's pride 
How he once fought, how long and well. 
Broad breast to breast, red hand to hand, 
Against a foe for his fair land. 
And how the fierce invader fell ; 
And artless told me how he died. 

To die with hand and brow unbound 
He gave his gems and jewell'd sword ; 
Thus at the last the warrior found 
Some freedom for his steel's reward. 
He walk'd out from the prison-wall 
Dress'd like a prince for a parade. 
And made no note of man or maid, 
But gazed out calmly over all ; 
Then look'd afar, half paused, and then 
Above the mottled sea of men 
He kiss'd his thin hand to the sun ; 
Then smiled so proudly none had known 
But he was stepping to a throne, 
Yet took no note of any one. 
A nude brown beggar Peon child, 
Encouraged as the captive smiled, 
Looked up, halt scared, half pitying ; 
He stoop'd, he caught it from the sands, 
Put bright coins in its two brown hands. 



IN NICARAG UA, 47 

Then strode on like another king. 

Two deep, a musket's length, they stood. 

A-front, in sandals, nude, and dun 

As death and darkness wove in one, 

Their thick lips thirsting for his blood. 

He took their black hands one by one, - 

And, smiling with a patient grace. 

Forgave them all and took his place. 

He bared his broad brow to the sun, 

Gave one long last look to the sky. 

The white wing'd clouds that hurried by. 

The olive hills in orange hue ; 

A last list to the cockatoo 

That hung by beak from cocoa-bough 

Hard by, and hung and sung as though 

He never was to sing again, 

Hung all red-crown'd and robed in green, 

With belts of gold and blue between. — 

A bow, a touch of heart, a pall 
Of purple smoke, a crash, a thud, 
A warriof s raiment rent, and blood, 
A face in dust and — that was all. 

Success had made him more than king ; 
Defeat made him the vilest thing 
In name, contempt or hate can bring : 
So much the leaded dice of war 
Do make or mar of character. 

Speak ill who will of him, he died 
In all disgrace ; say of the dead 
His heart was black, his hands were red — 
Say this much, and be satisfied ; 
Gloat over it all undenied. 
\ only say that he to me, 
Whatever he to others was. 
Was truer far than any one 



48 WITH WALKER 

That I have known beneath the sun, 

Sinner, saint, or Pharisee, 

As boy or man, for any cause ; 

I simply say he was my friend 

When strong of hand and fair of fame : 

Dead and disgraced, I stand the same 

To him, and so shall to the end. 

I lay this crude wreath on his dust. 
Inwove with sad, sweet memories 
Recall'd here by these colder seas. 
I leave the wild bird with his trust 
To sing and say him nothing wrong ; 
I wake no rivalry of song. 

He lies low in the levell'd sand. 
Unsheltered from the tropic sun, 
And now of all he knew not one 
Will speak him fair in that far land. 
Perhaps 'twas this that made me seek, 
Disguised, his grave one winter-tide ; 
A weakness for the weaker side, 
A siding with the helpless weak. 

A palm not far held out a hand, 
Hard by a long green bamboo swung, 
And bent like some great bow unstrung, 
And quiver'd like a willow wand ; 
Beneath a broad banana's leaf, 
Perch'd on its fruits that crooked hang, 
A bird in rainbow splendor sang 
A low sad song of tempered grief 

No sod, no sign, no cross nor stone. 
But at his side a cactus green 
Upheld its lances long and keen ; 
It stood in hot red sands alone, 
Flat-palm'd and fierce with lifted spears ; 



\ 



IN NICARA G UA, 49 



One bloom of crimson crown'd its head, 
A drop of blood, so bright, so red, 
Yet redolent as roses' tears. 
In my left hand I held a shell, 
All rosy lipp'd and pearly red ; 
I laid it by his lowly bed, 
For he did love so passing well 
Along these shining shores of gold, 
Crowding athirst into the sea. 
What wondrous marvels might be told ! 
Enough, to know that empire here 
Shall burn her loftiest, brightest star ; 
Here art and eloquence shall reign, 
As o^er the wolf-rear'd realm of old ; 
Here leam'd and famous from afar, 
To pay their noble court, shall come. 
And shall not seek or see in vain. 
But look on all with wonder dumb. 

The grand songs of the solemn sea. 

shell ! sing well, wild, with a will. 
When storms blow loud and birds be still, 
The wildest sea-song known to thee ! 

I said some things, with folded hands, 
Soft whispered in the dim sea-sound. 
And eyes held humbly to the ground. 
And frail knees sunken in the sands. 
He had done more than this for me, 
And yet I could not well do more : 

1 turned me down the olive shore. 
And set a sad face to the sea. 



London^ 1871. 



< 



«v 



I 



CALIFORNIAN. 



Olintingt qf day in the darkness j 
Flashings qf flint and qf steely 
Blended in gossamer texture 
The ideal and the realj 
Limned like the phantom-ship shadow^ 
Crowding up under the keel. 






CALIFORNIAN. 



I. 



I STAND beside the mobile sea ; 
And sails are spread, and sails are furFd 
From farthest comers of the world, 
And fold like white wings wearily. 
Steamships go up, and some go down 
In haste, like traders in a town, 
And seem to see and beckon all. 
Afar at sea some white shapes flee, 
With arms stretch'd like a ghosf s to me. 
And cloud-like sails far blown and curFd, 
Then glide down to the under-world. 
As if blown bare in winter blasts 
Of leaf and limb, tall naked masts 
Are rising from the restless sea, 
So still and desolate and tall, 
I seem to see them gleam and shine 
With clinging drops of dripping brine. 
Broad still brown wings flit here and there. 
Thin sea-blue wings wheel everywhere, 
And white wings whistle through the air : 
I hear a thousand sea gulls call. 

Behold the ocean on the beach 
Kneel lowly down as if in prayer. 
I hear a moan as of despair. 
While far at sea do toss and reach 
Some things so like white pleading hands. 
The ocean's thin and hoary hair 



54 CALIFORNIAN, 

Is trailed along the silver'd sands, 
At every sigh and sounding moan. 
Tis not a place of mirthfulness, 
But meditation deep, and prayer, 
And kneelings on the salted sod, 
Where man must own his littleness 
And know the mightiness of God. 
The very birds shriek in distress 
And sound the ocean's monotone. 

Dared I but say a prophecy. 
As sang the holy men of old. 
Of rock-built cities yet to be 
Along these shining shores of gold. 
Crowding athirst into the sea. 
What wondrous marvels might be told 
Enough, to know that empire here 
Shall bum her loftiest, brighest star ; 
Here art and eloquence shall reign. 
As o'er the wolf-rear'd realm of old ; 
Here learn'd and famous from afar. 
To pay their noble court, shall come. 
And shall not seek or see in vain. 
But look on all with wonder dumb. 

Afar the bright Sierras lie 
A swaying line of snowy white, 
A fringe of heaven hung in sight 
Against the blue base of the sky. 

I look alpng each gaping gorge, 
I hear a thousand sounding strokes 
Like giants rending giant oaks. 
Or brawny vulcan at his forge ; 
I see pick-axes flash and shine 
And great wheels whirling in a mine. 
Here winds a thick and yellow thread. 
A moss'd and silver stream instead ; 



\ 

I 



CALJFORNIAN. 55 

And trout that leap'd its rippled tide 
Have tum'd upon their sides and died. 

Lo ! when the last pick in the mine 
Is rusting red with idlenesss, 
And rot yon cabins in the mould, 
And wheels no more croak in distress, 
And tall pines reassert command, 
Sweet bards along this sunset shore 
Their mellow melodies will pour ; 
Will charm as charmers very mse, 
Will strike the harp with master hand. 
Will sound unto the vaulted skies 
The valor of these men of old — 
The mighty men of 'Forty-nine ; 
Will sweetly sing and proudly say, 
Long, long agone there was a day 
When there were giants in the land. 

II. 

CuRAMBO ! what a cloud of dust 
Comes dashing down like driven gust ! 
And who rides rushing on the sight 
Adown yon rocky long defile, 
Swift as an eagle in his flight, 
Fierce as a winter's storm at night 
Blown from the bleak Sierra's height, 
Careering down some yawning gorge ? 
His face is flush'd, his eye is wild, 
And 'neath his courser's sounding feet 
(A glance could barely be more fleet) 
The rocks are flashing like a forge. 
Such reckless rider ! — I do ween 
No mortal man his like has seen. 
And yet, but for his long serape 
All flowing loose, and black as crape. 
And long silk locks of b]ackest hair 
All streaming wildly in the breeze, 



56 CALIFORNIAN. 

You might believe him in a chair, 
Or chatting at some country fair 
With friend or senorita rare, 
He rides so grandly at his ease. 

But now he grasps a tighter rein, 
A red rein wrought in golden chain, 
And in his tapidaros stands, 
Half turns and shakes two bloody hands, 
And shouts defiance at his foe ; 
Now lifts his broad hat from his brow 
As if to challenge fate, and now 
His hand drops to his saddle-bow 
And clutches something gleaming there 
As if to something more than dare, 
While halts the foe that followed fast 
As rushing wave or raving blast, 
More sudden-swift than though were prest 
All bridle-bands at one behest. 

The stray winds lift the raven curls, 
Soft as a fair Castilian girl's. 
And press a brow so full and high 
Its every feature does belie 
The thought he is compell'd to fly \ 
A brow as open as the sky 
On which you gaze and gaze again 
As on a picture you have seen 
And often sought to see in vain, 
That seems to hold a tale of woe 
Or wonder, that you fain would know ; 
A brow cut deep as with a knife. 
With many a dubious deed in life ; 
A brow of blended pride and pain, 
And yearnings for what should have been. 

He grasps his gilded gory rein, 
And wheeling like a hurricane. 



t: 



CALIFORNTAN. 57 

Defying wood, or stone, or flood. 
Is dashing down the gorge again. 
Oh never yet has prouder steed 
Borne master nobler in his need 1 
There is a glory in his eye 
That seems to dare and to defy 
Pursuit, or time, or space, or race. 
His body is the type of speed. 
While from his nostril to his heel 
Are muscles as if made of steel. 
He is not black, nor gray, nor white. 
But 'neath that broad serape of night 
And locks of darkness streaming o'er, 
His sleek sides seem a fiery red — 
They may be red with gushing gore. 

What crimes have made that red hand red ? 
What wrongs have written that young face 
With lines of thought so out of place ? 
Where flies he ? And from whence has fled ? 
And what his lineage and race ? 
What glitters in his heavy belt, 
And from his furr'd catenas gleam ? 
What on his bosom that doth seem 
A diamond bright or dagger's hilt ? 
The iron hoofs that still resound 
Like thunder from the yielding ground 
Alone reply ; and now the plain. 
Quick as you breathe and gaze again, 
Is won, and all pursuit is vain. 



III. 

I STAND upon a stony rim, 
Stone-paved and patterned as a street ; 
A rock-lipp'd canon plunging south, 
As if it were earth's open'd mouth, 
Yawns deep and darkling at my feet ; 
7 






^ 



5S CALIFORNIAN. 

So deep, so distant, and so]]dim 
Its waters wind, a yellow thread, 
And call so faintly and so far, 
I turn aside my swooning head. 
I feel a fierce impulse to leap 
Adown the beetling precipice. 
Like some lone, lost, uncertain star ; 
To plunge into a place unknown. 
And win a world all, all my own ; 
Or if I might not meet that bliss, 
At least escape the curse of this. 

I gaze again. A gleaming star 
Shines back as from some mossy well 
Reflected from blue fields afar. 
Brown hawks are wheeling here and there, 
And up and down the broken wall 
Cling clumps of dark green chaparral, 
While from the rent rocks, gray and bare, 
Blue junipers hang in the air. 

Here, cedars sweep the stream, and here. 
Among the boulders moss'd and brown 
That time and storms have toppled down 
From towers undefiled by man. 
Low cabins nestle as in fear, ^ 
And look no taller than a span. 
From low and shapeless chimneys rise 
Some tall straight columns of blue smoke. 
And weld them to the bluer skies ; 
While sounding down the sombre gorge 
I hear the steady pick-axe stroke, 
As if upon a flashing forge. 

Another scene, another sound ! — 
Sharp shots are firetting through the air, 
Red knives are flashing everywhere, 
And here and there the yellow flood 



CALIFORNIAX, 59 

Is purpled with warm smoking blood. 
The brown hawk swoops low to the ground, 
And nimble chip-monks, small and still, 
Dart striped lines across the sill 
That lordly feet shall press no more. 
The flume lies warping in the sun, 
The pan sits empty by the door, 
The pick-axe on its bed-rock floor 
Lies rusting in the silent mine. 
There comes no single sound nor sign 
Of life, beside yon monks in brown 
That dart their dim shapes up and down 
The rocks that swelter in the sun ; 
But dashing round yon rocky spur 
Where scarce a hawk would dare to whirr, 
Fly horsemen reckless in their flight. 
One wears a flowing black capote. 
While down the cape doth flow and float 
Long locks of hair as dark as night. 
And hands are red that erst were white. 

All up and down the land to-day 
Black desolation and despair 
It seems have sat and settled there. 
With none to frighten them away. 
Like sentries watching by the way 
Black chimneys topple in the air, 
And seem to say, Go back, beware I 
While up around the mountain's rim 
Are clouds of smoke, so still and grim 
They look as they are fastened there. 

A lonely stillness, so like death, 
So touches, terrifies all things, 
That even rooks that fiy overhead 
Are hushed, and seem to hold their breath, 
To fly with muffled wings. 
And heavy as if made of lead. 



6o CALIFORNIAN, 

Some skulls that crumble to the touch, 

Some joints of thin and chalk-like bone, 

A tall black chimney, all alone, 

That leans as if upon a crutch, 

Alone are left to mark or tell. 

Instead of cross or cryptic stone, 

Where fair maids loved or brave men fell 



I look along the vaUey's edge, 
Where swings the white road like a swell 
Of surf, along a sea of hedge 
And black and brittle chaparral, 
And enters like an iron wedge 
Drove in the mountain dun and brown, 
As if to split the hills in twain. 
Two clouds of dust roll o'er the plain. 
And men ride up and men ride down. 
And hot men halt, and curse and shout. 
And coming coursers plunge and neigh. 
The clouds of dust are rolFd in one — 
And horses, horsemen, where are they ? 
Lo ! through a rift of dust and dun. 
Of desolation and of rout, 
I see some long white daggers flash, 
I hear the sharp hot pistols crash, 
And curses loud in mad despair 
Are blended with a plaintive prayer 
That struggles through the dust and air. 

The cloud is lifting like a veil : 
The frantic curse, the plaintive wail 
Have died away ; nor sound nor word 
Along the dusty plain is heard 
Save sounding of yon courser's feet, 
Who flies so fearfully and fleet, 
With gory girth and broken rein, 
Across the hot and trackless plain. 



CALIFORNIAN. %\ 

Behold him, as he trembling flies, 
Look back with red and bursting eyes 
To where his gory master lies. 
The cloud is lifting like a veil, 
But underneath its drifting sail 
I see a loose and black capote 
In careless heed far fly and float. 
So vulture-like above a steed 
Of perfect mould and passing speed. 

Here lies a man of giant mould, 
His mighty right arm, perfect bare 
Save but its sable coat of hair. 
Is clutching in its iron clasp 
A clump of sage, as if to hold 
The earth from slipping from his grasp ; 
While, stealing from his brow, a stain 
Of purple blood and gory brain 
Yields to the parch'd lips of the plain. 
Swift to resolve to dust again. 

Lo ! friend and foe blend here and there 
With dusty lips and trailing hair : 
Some with a cold and sullen stare. 
Some with their red hands clasp'd in prayer. 

Here lies a youth, whose fair face is 
Still holy from a mother's kiss. 
With brow as white as alabaster. 
Save a tell-tale powder-stain 
Of a deed and a disaster 
That will never come again. 
With their perils and their pain. 

The tinkle of bells on the bended hills, 
The hum of bees in the orange trees. 
And the lowly call of the beaded rills 
Are heard in the land as I look again 



6 a CALIFORNIAN, 

Over the peaceful battle-plain. 
Murderous man from the field has fled, 
Fled in fear from the face of his dead. 
He battled, he bled, he ruled a day — 
And peaceful nature resumes her sway. 
And the sward where yonder corses lie, 
When the verdant season shall come again, 
Shall greener grow than it grew before ; 
Shall again in sun-clime glory vie 
With the gayest green in the tropic scene, 
Taking its freshness back once more 
From them that despoil'd it yesterday. 



IV. 

The sun is red and flushed and dry, 
And fretted from his weary beat 
Across the hot and desert sky, 
And swollen as from overheat. 
And failing too ; for see he sinks 
Swift as a ball of burnish'd ore : 
It may be fancy, but methinks 
He never fell so fast before. 

1 hear the neighing of hot steeds, 
I see the marshalling of men 
That silent move among the trees 
As busily as swarming bees 
With step and stealthiness profound. 
On carpetings of spindled weeds. 
Without a syllable or sound 
Save clashing of their burnish'd arms. 
Clinking dull death-like alarms — 
Grim bearded men and brawny men " 
That grope among the ghostly trees. 
Were ever silent men as these ? 
Was ever sombre forest deep 
And dark as this ? Here one might sleep 



CALIFORNIAN. 63 

While all the weary years went round, 
Nor wake nor weep for sun or sound. 

A stone's throw to the right, a rock 
Has reared his head among the stars — 
An island in the upper deep — 
And on his front a thousand scars 
Of thunder's crash and earthquake's shock 
Are seam'd as if by sabre's sweep 
Of gods, enraged that he should rear 
His front amid their realms of air. 

What moves along his beetling brow, 

So small, so indistinct and far. 

This side yon blazing evening star, 

Seen through that redwood's shifting bough ? 

A lookout on the world below ? 

A watcher for the friend — or foe ? 

This still troop's sentry it must be, 

Yet seems no taller than my knee. 

But for the grandeur of this gloom. 
And for the chafing steeds' alarms, 
And brown men's sullen clash of arms, 
This were but as a living tomb. 
These weeds are spindled, pale and white, 
As if nor sunshine, life nor light 
Had ever reach'd this forest's heart. 
Above, the redwood boughs entwine 
As dense as copse of tangled vine — 
Above, so fearfully afar, 
It seems as 'twere a lesser sky, 
A sky without a moon or star, 
The moss'd boughs are so thick and high. 
At every lisp of leaf I start ! 
Would I could hear a cricket trill, 
Or that yon sentry from his hill 
Might shout or show some sign of life, 



64 CALIFORNIAN. 

The place does seem so deathly still. 
" Mount ye, and forward for the strife ! " 
Who by yon dark trunk sullen stands, 
With black serape and bloody hands, 
And coldly gives his brief commands ? 

They mount — ^away ! Quick on his heel 
He turns, and grasps his gleaming steel — 
Then sadly smiles, and stoops to kiss 
An upturned face so sweetly fair, 
So rich of blessedness and bliss ! 
I know she is not flesh and blood, 
But some sweet spirit of this wood ; 
I know it by her wealth of hair. 
And step on the unyielding air ; 
Her seamless robe of shining white, 
Her soul-deep eyes of darkest night : 
But over all and more than all 
That could be said or can befall. 
That tongue can tell or pen can trace. 
That wondrous witchery of face. 

Between the trees I see him stride 
To where a red steed fretting stands 
Impatient for his lord's commands : 
And she glides noiseless at his side. 

Lo ! not a bud, or leaf, or stem. 
Beneath her feet is bowed or bent ; 
They only nod, as if in sleep, 
And all their grace and freshness keep ; 
And now will in their beauty bloom, 
In pink and pearl habiliment. 
As though fresh risen from a tomb, 
For fairest sun has shone on them. ^ 



*' The world is mantling black again ! 
Beneath us, o'er the sleeping plain, 



( 



CALIFORNJAN. 65 

Dull steel-gray clouds slide up and down 
As if the still earth wore a frown. 
The west is red with sunlight slain ! " 

(One hand toys with her waving hair,. 
Soft lifting from her shoulders bare \ 
The other holds the loosened rein, 
And rests upon. the swelling mane 
That curls the curved neck o'er and o'er. 
Like waves that swirl along the shore. 
He hears the last retreating sound 
Of iron on volcanic stone, 
That echoes far from peak to plain, 
And 'neath the dense wood's sable zone 
He peers the dark Sierras down.) 
" But darker yet shall be the frown, 
And redder yet shall be the flame. 
And yet I would that this were not — 
That all, forgiven or forgot 
Of curses deep and awful crimes, 
Of blood and terror, could but seem 
Some troubled and unholy dream ; 
That even now I could awake, 
And waking find me once again 
With hand and heart without a stain. 
Swift gliding o'er that sunny lake. 
Begirt with town and castle-wall. 
Where first I saw the silver light — 
Begirt with blossoms, and the bloom 
Of orange, sweet with the perfume 
Of cactus, pomegranate and all 
The thousand sweets of tropic climes ; 
And, waking, see the mellow moon , 

Pour'd out in gorgeous pleniluue 
On silver ripples of that tide ; 
And, waking, hear soft music pour 
Along that flora-formed shore 
And, waking, find you at my side, 
8 



66 CALIFORNIAN, 

My father's moss'd and massive halls, 
My brothers in their strength and pride." 

(His hand forsakes her raven rair, 
His eyes have an unearthly glare : 
She shrinks and shudders at his side, 
Then lifts to his her moistened eye, 
And only looks her sad reply. 
A suUenness his soul enthrals, 
A silence bom of hate and pride ; 
His fierce volcanic heart so deep 
Is stirr'd, his teeth, despite his will, 
Do chatter as if in a chill ; 
His very dagger at his side 
Does shake and rattle in its sheath. 
As blades of brown grass in a gale 
Do rustle on the frosted heath : 
And yet he does not bend or weep.) 

I did not vow a girlish vow. 
Nor idle imprecation now 
Will I bestow by boasting word — 
Feats of the tongue become the knave. 
A wailing in the land is heard 
For those that will not come again ; 
And weeping for the rashly brave. 
Who sleep in many a gulch and glen. 
Has wet a hundred hearths with tears. 
And darken'd them for years and years. 
Would I could turn their tears to gore. 
Make every hearth as cold as one 
Is now upon that sweet lake shore. 
Where my dear kindred dwelt of yore ; - 
Where now is but an ashen heap, 
And mass of mossy earth and stone ; 
Where round an altar black wolves keep 
Their carnival and doleful moan ; 
Where homM lizards dart and climb. 
And mollusks slide and leave their slime. 



CALIFORNIAN. 67 

" But tremble not. This night, my own, 
Shall see my fierce foe overthrown ; 
And ere the day-star gleams again 
My horse's hoofs shall spurn the dead — 
The still warm reeking dead of those 
Who brought us all our bitter woes ; 
While all my glad returning way 
Shall be as light as living day. 
From ranchos, campos, burning red. 
And then ! And then my peri pearl" — 
(As if to charm her from her fears 
And drive away the starting tears, 
Again his small hand seeks a curl. 
And voice forgets its sullen ire, 
And eye forsakes its flashing fire) — 
" Away to where the orange tree 
Is white through all the cycled years. 
And love lives an eternity ; 
Where birds are never out of tune 
And life knows no decline of noon ; 
Where winds are sweet as woman's breath. 
And purpled, dreamy, mellow skies 
Are lovely as a woman's eyes, — 
There, we in calm and perfect bliss 
Of boundless faith and sweet delight 
Shall realize the world above. 
Forgetting all the wrongs of this. 
Forgetting all of blood and death. 
And all your terrors of to-night. 
In pure devotion and deep love." 

As gently as a mother bows 
Her first-born sleeping babe above. 
The cherish'd cherub Ups to kiss 
In her full blessedness and bliss, 
He bends to her with stately air, 
His proud head in its cloud of hair. 
I do not heed the hallow'd kiss ; 



68 CALIFORNIAN. 

I do not hear the hurried vows 
Of passion, faith, unfailing love ; 
I do not mark the prison*d sigh, 
I do not meet the moistened eye : 
A low sweet melody is heard 
Like cooing of someBalize bird, 
So fine it does not touch the air. 
So faint it stirs hot anywhere ; 
Faint as the falling of the dew, 
Low as a pure unutter*d prayer. 
The meeting, mingling, as it were, 
Of souls in paradisal bliss. 

Erect again, he grasps the rein 
So tight, as to the seat he springs, 
I see his red steed plunge and poise 
And beat the air with iron feet, 
And curve his noble glossy neck, 
And toss on high his swelling mane, 
And leap — away ! he spurns the rein, 
And flies so fearfully and fleet, 
But for the hot hoofs' ringing noise 
'Twould seem as if he were on wings. , 

And she is gone ! Gone like a breath, 
Gone like a white sail seen at night 

A moment, and then lost to sight ; i 

Gone like a star you look upon, i 

That glimmers to a bead, a speck, - 

Then softly melts into the dawn, ' 

And all is still and dark as death. I 



V. 



I LOOK far down a dewy vale. 
Where cool palms lean across a brook 
As crooked as a shepherd's crook. 



CALIFORNIAN. 69 

Red parrots call from orange trees, 
Where white lips kiss the idle breeze, 
And murmur with the hum of bees : 
The gray dove coos his low love-tale. 

With cross outstretched like pleading hands 
That mutely plead the faith of Christ, 
Amid the palms a low church stands : 
I would that man might learn from these 
The priceless \'ictories of Peace, 
And woo her 'mid these olive trees, 
And win an earthly paradise. 

I see black clouds of troops afar 
Sweep like a surge that sweeps the shore. 
And checkering all the green hills o'er 
Are battlements and signs of war. 
I hear the hoarse-voiced cannon roar : 
The red-mouthed orators of war 
Plead as they never plead before ; 
While outdone thunder stops his car 
And leans in wonderment afar. 

A fragment from the struggle rent 
Forsakes the rugged battlement. 
And winds it painfully and slow 
Across the rent and riven lands 
To where a gray church open stands, 
As if it bore a load of woe. 

Curambo ! 'tis a chief they bear I 
And by his black and flowing hair 
Methinks I have seen him before. 
A gray priest guides them through the door, 
They lay him bleeding on the floor. 

He moves, he lifts his feeble hand. 
And points with tried and trenched brand, 



I 



70 CALIFORNIAN. 

And bids them to the battle-plain. 

They turn — they pause : he bids again ; 

They turn a last time to their chief, 

And gaze in silence and deep pain, 

For silence speaks the deepest grief. 

They clutch their blades \ they turn — are gone : 

And priest and chief are left alone. 

" So here my last day has its close. 
And here it ends. Here all is not. 
I am content. Tis what I sought — 
Revenge — and then my last repose. 
Oh for the rest — for the rest eternal ! 
Oh for the deep and the dreamless sleep ! 
Where never a hope lures to deceive ; 

Where never a heart beats but to grieve ; j 

Nor thoughts of heaven or hells infernal 
Shall ever wake or dare to break 
The rest of an everlasting sleep ! 

" Is there truth in the life eternal ? 
Will our memories never die ? 
Shall we relive in realms supernal 
Life's resplendent and glorious lie ? 
Death has not one shape so frightful 
But defiantly I would brave it ; 
Elarth has nothing so delightful 
But my soul would scorn to crave it. 
Could I know for sure, for certain, 
That the falling of the curtain 
And the folding of the hands 
Is the full and the final casting 
Of accounts for the everlasting ! 
Everlasting, and everlasting ! 

" Well, I have known, I know not why, 
Through all my dubious days of strife, 
That when we live our deeds we die ; 



CALIFORNIAN. 7 1 

That man may in one hour live 
All that his life can bear or give. 
This I have done, and do not grieve, 
For I am older by a score 
Than many bom long, long before, 
If sorrows be the sum of life. 

" Ay, I am old — old as the years 
Could brand me with their blood and tears ; 
For with my fingers I can trace 
Griefs trenches on my hollow face. 
And through my thin frame I can leel 
The pulses of my frozen heart 
Beat with a dull uncertain start : 
And, mirror'd in my sword, to-day. 
Before its edge of gleaming steel 
Had lost its lustre in the fray, 
I saw around my temples stray 
Thin straggling locks of steely gray. 

" Fly, fly you, to yon snowy height. 
And tell to her I fail, I die ! 
Fly swiftly, priest, I bid you ! — ^fly 
Before the falling of the night ! 
What ! know her not ? O priest, beware ! 
I warn you answer thus no more, 
But bend your dull ear to the floor. 
And hear you who she is, and where. 

" She is the last, last of a line. 
With blood as rich and warm as wine, 
And blended blood of god and king ; 
Last of the Montezumas' line 
Who dwelt up in the yellow sun, 
And, sorrowing for man's despair. 
Slid by his trailing yellow hair 
To earth, to rule with love and bring 
The blessedness of peace to us. 



72 CALIFORNIAN. 

She is the last, last earthly one 

Of all the children of the sun ; 

A sweet perfume still lingering 

In essence pure, and linng thus 

In blessedness about the spot, 

WTien rose, and bush, and bloom are not. 

" Beside Tezcuco'b flowery shore, 
Where waves were washing evermore 
The massive columns of its wall, 
Stood Montezuma's mighty haU. 
And here the Montezumas reign'd 
In perfect peace and love unfeign'd, 
Until from underneath the sea 
WTiere all sin is, or ought to be, 
Came men of death and strange device, 
Who taught a mad and mystic faith 
Of crucifixion and of Christ, 
More hated than the plague or death. 

" Nay, do not swing your cross o'er me ; 
You crossed you once, but do not twice, 
Nor dare repeat the name of Christ ; 

Nor start, nor think to fly, nor frown, I 

While you the stole and surplice wear ; 
For I do clutch your sable gown, 
And you shall hear my curse, or prayer, 
And be my priest in my despair ; 
Since neither priest, nor sign, nor shrine 
Is left in all the land of mine. 

" Enough 1 We know, alas I too well, 
How red Christ ruled — Tonatiu fell. 
The black wolf in our ancient halls 
Unfrighten'd sleeps the live-long day. 
The stout roots burst the mossy walls, 
And in the moonlight wild dogs play 
Around the plazas overgrown, 



CALIFORNIAN. 73 

Where rude boars hold their carnivals. 
The moss is on our altar-stone, 
The mould on Montezuma's throne, 
And symbols in the desert strown. 

" And when your persecutions ceased 
From troop, and king, and cowlM priest, 
That we had felt for centuries — 
(Ah ! know you, priest, that cross of thine 
Is but death's symbol, and the sign 
Of blood and butchery and tears ?) — 
And when returned the faithful few. 
Beside Tezcuco's sacred shore, 
To build their broken shrines anew, 
They numbered scarce a broken score. 
Here dwelt mv father — ^ere she dwelt 
Here kept one altar burning bright, 
Last of the thousands that had shone 
Along the mountain's brows of stone, 
Last of a thousand stars of night. 
To Tonatiu Ytzaqual we bow'd — 
Nay, do not start, nor shape the sign 
Of horror at this creed of mine. 
Nor call again the name of Christ : 
You cross you once, you .cross you twice — 
I warn you do not cross you thrice ; 
Nor will I brook a sign or look 
Of anger at her faith avow'd. 
I am no creedist. Faith to me 
Is but a name for mystery. 
I only know this faith is her's : 
I care to know no more, to be 
The truest of its worshippers. 

" The Cold-men came across the plain 
With gory blade and brand of flame : 
I know not that they knew or cared 
What was our race, or creed, or name ; 

9 



74 CALIFORNIAN, 

I only know the Northmen dared 
Assault and sack, for sake of gain 
Of sacred vessels wrought in gold, 
The temple where gods dwelt of old ; 
And that my father, brothers, dared 
Defend their shrines — and all were slain. 

" * Fly with the maid,' my father cried, 
When first the fierce assault was made — 

* A boat chafes at the causeway side,* 
And in the instant was obey'd. 
We gained the boat, sprang in, away 
We dash'd along the dimpled tide. 

"It must have been they thought we bore 
The treasure in our flight and haste, 
For in an instant from the shore 
An hundred crafts were making chase, 
And as their sharp prows drew apace 
I caught a carbine to my face. 
She, rising, dash'd it quick aside ; 
And, when their hands were stretched to clasp 
The boat's prow in their eager grasp, 
She tum*d to me and sudden cried, 

* Come, come ! ' and plunged into the tide. 
I plunged into the dimpled wave : 
I had no thought but 'twas my grave ; 
But faith had never follower 
More true than I to follow her. 

** On, on through purple wave she cleaves, 
As shoots a sunbeam through the leaves. 
At last — what miracle was there ! — 
Again we breathed the welcome air : 
And, resting by the rising tide, 

The secret outlet of the lake, ~^^ 

Safe hid by trackless fern and brake, ^^"^ 

With yellow lilies at her side, 



CALIFORNIAN, 75 

She told me how in ages gone 
Her Fathers built with sacred stone 
This secret way beneath the tide, 
That now was known to her alone. 

" When night came on and all was still, 
And stole the white moon down the hill 
As soft, as if she too fear'd ill, 
Again I sought the sacred halls 
And on the curving causeway stood. 
I look'd — naught but the blackened walls 
And charr'd bones of my kindred blood 
Was left beside the dimpled flood. 



* * * 



" Enough ! Mine was no tempered steel 
To-day upon the stormy field, 
As many trench'd heads yonder feel, 
And many felt, that feel no more, 
That fought beneath your cross and shield, 
And, falling, called in vain to Christ. 
You curs'd monk ! dare you cross you thrice. 
When I have warn'd you twice before ? 
To you and your damn'd faith I owe 
My heritage of crime and woe ; 
You shall not live to mock me more 
If there be temper in this brand. 
Or nerve left in this bloody hand. 
I start, I leave the stony ground, 
Despite of blood or mortal wound, 
Or darkness that has dimn'd the eye, 
Or senses that do dance and reel — 
I clutch a throat — I clench a steel — 
I thmst— I fail— I fall— I die . . r 



76 CALIFORNIAN. 



VI. 



She stands upon the wild watch-tower 
And with her own hand feeds the flame — 
The beacon-light to guide again 
His coming from the battle-plain. 
'Tis wearing past the midnight hour, 
The latest that he ever came, 
Yet silence reigns around the tower. 

Tis hours past the midnight hour : 
She calls, she looks, she lists in vain 
For sight or sound from peak or plain. 
She moves along the beetling tower, 
She leans, she lists forlorn and lone, 
She stoops her ear low to the ground. 
In hope to catch the welcome sound 
Of iron on the rugged stone. 

In vain she peers down in the night 
But for one feeble flash of light 
From flinty stone and feet of steel. 
She stands upon the fearful rim. 
Where even coolest head would reel, 
And fearless leans her form far o'er 
Its edge, and lifts her hands to him, 
And calls in words as sweetly wild 
As bleeding saint or sorrowing child. 
She looks, she lists, she leans in vain, 
In- vain his dalliance does deplore ; 
She turns her to the light again, 
And bids the watchman to the plain, 
Defying night or dubious way, 
To guide the flight or join the fray. 

The day-star dances on the snow 
That gleams along Sierra's crown 



CALIFORNIA A. 77 

In gorgeous everlasting glow 

And frozen glory and renown. 

Yet still she feeds the beacon flame, 

And lists, and looks, and leans in vain. 

The day has dawn'd. She still is there ! 
Yet in her sad and silent air 
I read the stillness of despair. 
Why burns the red light on the tower 
So brightly at this useless hour ? 
But see ! The day-king hurls a dart 
At darkness, and his cold black heart 
Is pierced ; and now, compell'd to flee. 
Flies bleeding to the farther sea. 
And now, behold, she radiant stands, 
And lifts her thin white jewelled hands 
Unto the broad, unfolding sun, 
And hails him Tpnatiu and King 
With hallow'd mien and holy prayer. 
Her fingers o'er some symbols run, 
Her knees are bowed in worshipping 
Her God, beheld when thine is not, 
In form of faith, long, long forgot. 

Again she lifts her brown arms bare. 
Far flashing in their bands of gold 
And precious stones, rare, rich, and old. 
Was ever mortal half so fair ? 
Was ever such a wealth of hair ? 
Was ever such a plaintive air ? 
Was ever such a sweet despair ? 

Still humbler now her form she bends ; 
Still higher now the flame ascends : 
She bares her bosom to the sun. 
Again her jewell'd fingers run 
In signs and sacred form and prayer. 
She bows with awe and holy air 



78 CALIFORNIAN, 

In lowly worship to the sun; 
Then rising calls her lover's name, 
And leaps into the leaping flame. 

I do not hear the faintest moan, 
Or soimd, or syllable, or tone. 
The red flames stoop a moment down, 
As if to raise her from the ground ; 
They whirl, they swirl, they sweep around 
With lightning feet and fiery crown \ 
Then stand up, tall, tip-toed, as one 
Would hand a soul up to the sun. 



THE LAST TASCIIASTAS. 



The hills were hroicn^ the heavens were blue^ 
A woodpecker pounded a pine-top shelly 
While a partridge whistled the whole day through 
For a rabbit to dance in the chapparcUj 
And a gray grouse drumrn'dj " AWs welly alVs well" 






THE LAST TASCHASTAS. 
Part First. 

WRINKLED and brown as a a bag of leather, 
A squaw sits moaning long and low. 
Yesterday she was a wife and mother, 
To-day she is rocking her to and fro, 
A childless widow, in weeds and woe. 

An Indian sits in a rocky cavern 
Whetting a flint in an arrow head ; 
His children are moving as still as shadows 
His squaw is moulding some balls of lead, 
With her round face painted the battle-red. 

An Indian sits in a black-jack jungle. 
Where a grizzly bear has rear'd her young, 
Whetting a flint on a granite boulder, 
And his quiver is over his brown back hung, 
And his face is streaked and his bow is strung. 

An Indian hangs from a clifl* of granite, 
Like an eagle's nest built in the air, 
Looking away to the east, and watching 
The smoke of the cabins curling there, 
And eagles' feathers are in his hair. 

In belt of wampum, in battle fashion. 

An Indian watches with wild, desire. 

He is red with paint, he is black with passion, 

lO 



82 THE LAST TASCHASTAS. 

And grand as a god in his savage ire, 
As he leads and listens till stars are a-fire. 

Sombre and sullen and sad, the chieftain 
Looks from the mountain far into the sea. 
Just before him beat in the white billows, 
Just behind him the toppled tall tree 
And chopping of woodmen, knee buckl'd to knee 

Long he looks, and he leans and listens — 
Waves before him, behind him white waves 
Beating and breaking on the last Taschastas ; 
Waves that have toppled across red braves, 
Leveird, and left not a sign of their graves. 

" Awake and arise ! O, remnant Taschastas ! 
Awake to the life that is death in the land, 
And this shall be doubled in dust contented " — 
He lifts to heaven his doubled right hand, 
Flashing afar with a great gold band. 

Part Second. 

« « « « * 

All together, all in council, 
In a canon waird so high 
That no thing could ever reach them 
Save some stars dropp'd from the sky, 
And the brown bats sweeping by : 

Some were gray and thin and wiry. 
Wise as brief, and brief as bold ; 
Some were young and fierce and fiery, 
Some were stately tall, and told 
Counsellings like kings of old. 

Flamed the council-fire brighter, 
Flashed black eyes like diamond beads, 
When a woman told her sorrows, 



THE LAST TASCHASTAS. 83 

While a warrior told his deeds, 
And a widow tore her weeds. 

Then was lit the pipe, of council 
That their fathers smoked of old, 
With its stem of manzinnetta, 
And its bowl of quartz and gold, 
And traditions manifold. 

Lo ! from lip to lip in silence 
Burned it round the circle red, 
Like an evil star slow passing 
(Sign of battles and blood shed) 
Round the heavens overhead. 

Then the silence deep was broken 
By the thunder rolling far, 
As gods muttering in anger. 
Or the bloody battle car 
Of a Christian king at war. 



u f 



Tis the spirits of my Fathers 
MAitt'ring vengeance in the skies ; 
And the flashing of the lightning . 
Is the anger of their eyes, 
Bidding us in battle rise," 

Cried the war-chief, now uprising, 
Naked all above the waist, 
While a belt of shells and silver 
Held his tamoos to its place, 
And the war-paint streak'd his face. 

Women melted from the council, 
Boys crept backward out of sight. 
Till alone a wall of warriors 
In their paint and battle-plight 
Sat reflecting back the light. 



84 THE LAST TASCHASTAS. 

" O my Fathers in the storm-cloud ! " — 
(Red arms tossing to the skies, 
While the massive walls of granite 
Seem'd to shrink to half their size, 
And to mutter strange replies) — 

" Soon we come, O angry Fathers, 
Down the darkness you have crossed ; 
Speak for hunting-grounds there for us ; 
Those you left us we have lost — 
Gone like blossoms in a frost. 

" Warriors ! " (and his arms fell folded 
On his tawny swelling breast. 
While his voice, now low and plaintive 
As the waves in their unrest, 
Touching tenderness confessed,) 

" Where is Wrotto, wise of counsel, 
Yesterday here in his place ? 
A brave lies dead down in the valley, 
Last brave of his line and race. 
And a Ghost sits on his face. 

" Where the boy the tender-hearted. 
With his mother yestermorn ? 
Lo 1 a wigwam-door is darkened. 
And a mother mourns forlorn. 
With her long locks toss'd and torn. 

" Once like pines around a mountain 
Did my braves in council stand ; 
Now I call you loud like thunder, 
And you come at my command 
Faint and few, with feeble hand. 

" Lo ! our daughters have been gather'd 
From among us by the foe, 



THE LAST TASCHASTAS. 85 

Like the lilies they once gathered 
In the spring-time all aglow 
From the banks of living snow. 

" Through the land wherfe we for ages 

Laid the bravest, dearest dead, 

Grinds the savage white-man's ploughshare, 

Grinding sires' bones lor bread — 

We shall give them blood instead. 

" I saw white skulls in a furrow. 
And around the cursed share 
Clung the flesh of my own children ; 
And my mother's tangled hair 
Traird along the furrow there. 

" O my mother up in cloud-land !" 
(Long arms lifting like the spray) 
" Whet the flint heads in my arrows, 
Make my heart as hard as they. 
Nerve me like a bear at bay ! 

" Warriors ! braves ! I cry for vengeance ! 
And the dim ghosts of the dead 
Unavenged do wail and shiver 
In the storm-cloud overhead. 
And shoot arrows battle-red." 

Then he ceased, and sat among them, 
With his long locks backward strown ; 
They as mute as men of marble, 
He a king upon a throne. 
And as still as polish'd stone. 

Hard by stood the war-chiet's daughter, 
Taller than the tasseUd com, 
Sweeter than the kiss of morning, 



^ 



86 THE LAST TASCHASTAS, 

Sad as some sweet star of mom, 
Half defiant, and forlorn. 

Robed in skins of stripbd panther 
Lifting loosely in the air, 
With a face a shade of sorrow, 
And black eyes that said, Beware ! 
Nestled in a storm of hair ; 

With her striped robes around her, 
Fastened by an eagle's beak, 
Stood she by the stately chieftain, 
Proud and pure as Shasta's peak, 
As she ventured thus to speak : 

" Must the tomahawk of battle 
Be unburied where it lies, 
O, last war-chief of Taschastas ? 
Must the smoke of battle rise 
Like a storm-cloud in the skies ? 

" True, some wretch has laid a brother 
With his swift feet to the sun. 
But because one bough is broken, 
Must the broad oak be undone ? 
All the red-wood felPd as one ? 

" True, the braves have faded, wasted 
Like ripe blossoms in the rain. 
But when we have spent the arrows, 
Do we twang the string in vain. 
And then snap the bow in twain ? " 

Like a vessel in a tempest 
Shook the warrior, wild and grim. 
As he gazed out in the midnight, 
As to things that beckoned him, 
And his eyes were moist and dim 



i 



THE LAST TASCHASTAS. 87 

Then he turned and to his bosom 
Battle scarr'd, and strong as brass, 
Tenderly the warrior press'd her 
As if she were made of glass, 
Murmuring, " Alas ! alas ! 

" Loua EUah : Spotted Lily ! 
Streaks of blood shall be the sign, 
On their curs'd and mystic pages, 
Representing me and mine ! 
By Tonatiu's fiery shrine ! 

" When the grass shall grow untrodden 
In my war-path, and the plough 
Shall be grinding through this canon 
Where my braves are gathered now, 
Still shall they record this vow. 

" War and vengeance 1 rise, my warriors, 
Rise and shout the battle-sign, 
Ye who love revenge and glory ! 
Ye for peace, in silence, pine, 
And no more be braves of mine." 

Then the war-yell roird and echo'd 
As they started from the ground. 
Till an eagle from his cedar 
Starting answered back the sound, 
And flew circling round and round. 

" Enough, enough, my kingly father ! " 
And the glory of her eyes 
Flash'd the valor and the passion 
That may sleep but never dies. 
As she proudly thus replies : 

Shall the red-wood be a willow, 
Pliant and as little worth ? 



1 



88 THE LAST TASCHASTAS, 

It shall stand the king of forests, 
Or its iaX[ shall shake the earth, 
Desolating heart and hearth ! " 



Part Third. 

From cold east shore to warm west sea I 

The red men followed the red sun, j 

And, faint and failing fast as he, i 

Felt, sure as his, their race was run. I 

This ancient tribe, press'd to the wave, 1 

There fain had slept a patient slave. 

And died out as red embers die | 

From flames that once leap'd hot and high ; 

But, rous'd to anger, half arose, ( 

Around that chief, a sudden flood, 

At hot and hungry cry for blood ; 

Half drowsy shook a feeble hand. 

Then sank back in a tame repose. 

And left him to his fate and foes, 

A stately wreck upon the strand. 



His was no common mould of mind, 
But made for action, ill or good. 
Cast in another land and scene. 
His restless, reckless will had been 
A curse or blessing to his kind. 
His eye was like the lightning's wing, 
His voice was like a rushing flood ; 
He boasted Montezuma's blood. 
And when a captive bound he stood 
His presence look'd the perfect king. 

'Twas held at first that he should die : 
I never knew the reason why 



J 



THE LAST TASCHASTAS. 89 

A milder counsel did prevail, 
Save that we shrank from blood, and save 
That brave men do respect the brave. 
Down sea sometimes there was a sail. 
And far at sea, they said, an isle, 
And he was sentenced to exile, 
In open boat upon the sea 
To go the instant on the main, 
And never under penalty 
Of death, to touch the shore again. 
A troop of bearded buckskinn'd men 
Bore him hard-hurried to the wave, 
Placed him swift in the boat; and when 
Swift pushing to the bristled sea. 
His daughter rushed down suddenly. 
Threw him his bow, leapt from the shore 
Into the boat beside the brave, 
And sat her down and seized the oar, 
And never questioned, made replies, 
Or moved her lips, or raised her eyes. 

His breast was like a gate of brass. 
His brow was like a gathered storm ; 
There is no chiseird stone that has 
So stately and complete a form. 
In sinew, arm, and every part, 
In all the galleries of art. 

Gray, bronzed, and naked to the waist. 

He stood half halting in the prow. 

With quiver bare and idle bow. 

His daughter sat with her sad face 

Bent on the wave, with her two hands 

Held tightly to the dripping oar , 

And as she sat her dimpled knee 

Bent lithe as wand of willow tree, 

So round and full, so rich and free, 

That no one would have ever known 
II 



1 



90 THE LAST TASCHASTAS. 

That it had either joint or bone. 
The warm sea fondled with the shore, 
And laid his white face on the sands. 

Her eyes were black, her face was brown, 
Her breasts were bare, and there fell down 
Such wealth of hair, it almost hid 
The two, in its rich jetty fold — 
Which I had sometime fain forbid, 

They were so richer, fuller far | 

Than any polish'd bronzes are. 

And richer hued than any gold. ' 

On her brown arms and her brown hands I 

Were hoops of gold and golden bands, 
Rough hammered from the virgin ore, 
So heavy they could hold no more. i 

I wonder now, I wonder'd then, . ' 

That men who feared not gods nor men 
Laid no rude hand at all on her. 
I think she had a dagger slid 
Down in her silver'd wampum belt ; 
It might have been, instead of hilt, 
A flashing diamond hurry-hid 
That I beheld — I could not know 
For certain, we did hasten so ; 
And I know now less sure than then. 
Deeds strangle memories of deeds, 
Red blossoms wither, choked with weeds, 
And floods drown memories of men. 
Some things have happened since — and then 
This happen'd years and years ago. 

" Go, go ! '' the captain cried, and smote 
With sword and boot the swaying boat, 
Until it quivered as at sea 
And brought the old chief to his knee. 
He tum'd his face, and turning, rose 



THE LAST TASCHASTAS. 91 

With hand raised fiercely to his foes : 

" Yes, we will go, last of my race, 

Push'd by the robbers ruthlessly 

Into the hollows of the sea, 

From this the last, last resting place. 

Traditions of my Fathers say 

A feeble few reached for the land, 

And we reached them a welcome hand. 

Of old, upon another shore ; 

Now they are strong, we weak as they, 

And they have driven us before 

Their faces, from that sea to this : 

Then marvel not if we have sped 

Sometime an arrow as we fled. 

So keener than a serpent's kiss." 

He turned a time unto the sun 
That lay half hidden in the sea, 
As in his hollows rock'd asleep. 
All trembled and breathed heavily ; 
Then arch'd his arm, as you have done, 
For sharp masts piercing through the deep. 
No shore or tall ship met the eye, 
Or isle, or sail, or any thing, 
Save white sea-gulls on dripping wing, 
And mobile sea and molten sky. 

" Farewell ! — push seaward, child !" he cried ; 
And quick the paddle-strokes replied. 
Like lightning from the panther-skin 
That bound his loins round about 
He snatch'd a poison'd arrow out. 
That like a snake lay hid within. 
And twanged his bow. The captain fell 
Prone on his face, and such a yell 
Of triumph from that savage rose 
As man may never hear again. 
He stood as standing on the main, 



92 THE LAST TASCHASTAS, 

The topmost main, in proud repose, 
And shook his clenched fist at his foes, 
And called, and cursed them every one, 
He heeded not the shouts and shot 
That followed him, but grand and grim 
Stood up against the level sun ; 
And, standing so, seem'd in his ire 
So grander than a leaping fire. 

And when the sun had left the sea 
That laves Abrep, and Blanco laves, 
And left the land to death and me, 
The only thing that I could see 
Was, ever as the light boat lay 
High lifted on the white-back'd waves^ 
A head as gray and tossed as they. 



We raised the dead, and from his hands 
Picked out the shells clutch'd as he lay. 
And two by two bore him away. 
And wiped his lips of blood and sands. 
We bent and scooped a shallow home, 
And laid him warm-wet in his blood, 
Just as the lifted tide a-flood 
Came charging in with mouth a-foam : 
And as we turn'd, the sensate thing 
Reached up, lick'd out its foamy tongue, 
Lick'd out its tongue and tasted blood ; 
The white lips to the red earth clung 
An instant, and then loosening 
All hold just like a living thing, 
Drew back sad voiced and shuddering, 
All stain'd ^vith blood, a stripfed flood. 



IN A 



Sad King o/lht winl ii 

And Ihr Md-waiv i/griia on the plain. 

Thai br/aki rn btoont-foam by tlu /buntaini, 

And/vreiti Ih'il brMktlh again 

On the moujitaim, "i hrealctlH a main. 

Bold thovghU thai vert ilrong at the grUiliti, 
Bui noiD veai in Iheir yrisoa ijf teordt ; 
Bright faneie* Ihatfinih'd like the glaeieri. 
iVow dimm'd like the luslri of hirdi, 
And bulhrflua huMlrd as lienlt. 

Sad Bymphanyj leifd, und unJ'uaturfd, 
iVttd viarp, and viottf aoi-en in lirouda, 
StrOTige trutht that a ilray toul hat trtatured, 
Tnilhi «en a» through, folding 0/ tkroudi, 
(it at ttari thtough tht rolling nfelnudi. 




INA. 
Scene I. 

A Hacienda near Tezcuco^ Mexico. Young Don Carlos ahney looking out 
on the moonlit mountains. 



p 



Don Carlos. 

OPOCATAPETL looms lone like an island 
Above the white cloud-waves that break up against him ; 
Around him white buttes in the moonlight are flashing 
Like silver tents pitched in the fields of heaven ; 
While standing in line, in their snows everlasting, 
Flash peaks, as my eyes into heaven are lifted, 
Like milestones that lead to the city eternal. 

Ofttime when the sun and the sea lay together, 
Red-welded as one, in their red bed of lovers. 
Embracing and blushing like loves newly wedded, 
I have trod on the trailing crape fringes of twilight, 
And stood there and listen'd, 'and lean'd with lips parted, 
Till lordly peaks wrapped them, as chill night blew over, 
In great cloaks of sable, like proud sombre Spaniards, 
And stalk'd from my sight down the dark corridors. 
And in the deep stillness — so still, so profoundly— 
I surely have heard their strong footfalls retreating. 

When the red-curtain'd West has bent red as with weeping 
Low over the couch where the prone day lay dying, 
I have stood with brow lifted, confronting the mountains 
That held their white faces of snow in the heavens, 



f 1 



96 INA. i 

i 

And said, " It is theirs to array them sj^ purely, 

Because of their nearness to the templi eternal ;" ' 

And child-like have said, " They are fmr resting-places 

For the dear weary dead on their wayAip to heaven. '* 

But my soul is not with you to-nigHt, mighty mountains : 
It is held to the levels of earth by ay angel 
Far more than a star, earth-fallen or unfallen, 
Yet fierce in her follies and head-sirong and stronger 
Than streams of the sea running in with the billows. 

Very well. Let him woo, let him thrust his white whiskers 
And lips pale and purple with death in between us ; 
Let her wed, as she wills, for^he gold of the graybeard, 
And to give in my hand his league-lands and doubloons : 
I will set my face for you, O mountains, my brothers, 
For I yet have my honor, my conscience and freedom, 
My fleet-footed mustang and pistols rich-silver'd ; 
I will turn as the earth turns her back on the sun, 
But return to the light of her eyes never more, 

While red noons have a night and white seas have a shore. j 

Ik A, approaching y offers him her hand. 

Ina. 

I have come, dear Don Carlos, to say you farewell. 
I shall wed with Don Castro at dawn of to-morrow, 
And be all his own — firm, honest, and faithfiil. 
I have promised this thing ; that I will keep my promise 
You who do know me care never to question. 
I have mastered myself to say this thing to you 
As a hunter would master an hungered grizzly. 
Hear me : be^ strong, then, and say me farewell. 
The world is his own who will brave its bleak hours. 
Dare, then, to confront the cold days in their column ; 
As they march down upon you, stand, hew them to pieces, 
One after one, as you would a fierce foeman, 
Till not one abideth between two true bosoms. 

Here, standing here, in the vines by the twilight, \ 



V 



INA, 97 

While the fair moon was resting her face pure and pallid 

On the broad breast of heaven as one that is weary, 

And her yellow hair traiPd bridal veils down upon us, 

And the merry stars play'd hide-and-seek in the heaven, 

And danced there and dangled like to golden threads tangled 

He said to me this : '• I am old and am heirless, 

And should I die so, by Mejico's statutes 

My gold and my broad reach of lands do go forfeit 

To the State, in despite of my will or my wishes ; 

But you, my true wife, would be left my fair widow, 

A queen in your wealth to enrich a young lover." 

Then I told him all — all my love and my struggles ; 
And he called me most brave, and most true, and most noble 
And said that he knew all my yearnings already, 
And only sought thus with his wealth to endow me. 
So then I promised, and shall keep my promise 
True as the sun keeps his course in the heaven. 
As stainless and pure, yet as warm as the summer. 

Let us part as true friends, with a hope all unutter'd ; 
Without strife or a word, or an ill will between us. 
Turn you to the right or the left like to Abram : 
The world is before us, come cloud, or come sky ; 
Give your hand here in mine and say bravely, Good-by. 

Don Carlos with a laugh of scorn flies from the verandth, mount 
his ft ed, and disappears. 

Ina {looking out into the night, after a long silence). 

How doleful the night-hawk screams high in the heavens 
How dismally gibbers the gray coyot^f ! 
Afar to the south now the red-tongued thunder. 
Mine equal brother, my soul's own companion, 
Talks low in his sleep, like a giant deep-trouble ; 
Talks fierce in accord with my own stormy spirit. 
But beyond him the supple California lion 
Has aroused him up in a dangerous rivalry — 

12 



I 



/ 



98 INA. \ 

The beast I could beard him alone in his lair, j 

And toy with his mane, though it toss'd like a fire. 

Scene II. 

A spur of MoufU Hood overlooking the Willamette river. Lamonti 
a mountaineer, pitches his solitary camp for the night, and con- 
templates the scene. 

Lamonte. 

A FLUSHED and weary messenger a-west 
Is standing at the half-closed door of day, 
As he would say, Good-night ; and now his bright 
Red cap he tips to me and turns his face. j 

Were it an unholy thing to say, An angel 
Beside the door stood with uplifted seal ? 
Behold the door seaVd with a blood-red seal 
Now burning, spreading o'er the mighty West. 
Never again shall the dead day arise 
Therefrom, but must be bom and come anew. 

The tawny, solemn Night, child of the East, 
Her mournful robes trails on the distant woods, 
And comes this way with firm and stately step. 
Afront, and very high, she wears her shining 
Breastplate of silver, and on her dark brow 
The radiant Venus burns like flashing wit. 
Behold ! how in her gorgeous flow of hair 
Glitter a million mellow yellow gems, 
Spilling their molten gold on the dewy grass. 
Throned on the boundless plain, and gazing down 
Calmly upon the red-seal'd tomb of day. 
Resting her form against the Rocky Mountains, 
She rules with silent power a peaceful world. 

'Tis midnight now. The bent and broken moon, 
Battered and black, as from a thousand battles, 
Hangs silent on the purple walls of heaven. 
The angel warrior, guard of the gates eternal, 



\ 



INA, 99 

In battle-harness girt, sleeps on the field ; 
But when to-morrow comes, when wicked men 
That fret the patient earth are all astir, 
He will resume his shield, and, facing earthward, 
The gates of heaven guard from sins of earth. 

Tis morn. Behold the kingly Day now leaps 
The eastern wall of earth with sword in hand. 
Clad in a flowing robe of flowing light, 
Like to a king that has regained his throne, 
He warms his drooping subjects into joy, 
That rise rejoiced to do him fealty. 
And rules with pomp the universal world. 

Far, tar down in yon narrow spruce-lined canon 
Is the storm-hid abysm of ghostly darkness. 
I see him now, as down and down I peer, 
Crouch down, and shrink, and creep still up the gorge, 
Like some great beast that would conceal its form 
In nervous terror from the gaze of man. 
The Willamette flashes back afar, 
And down his path of palms goes ever on, 
An endless caravan to some fair Mecca. 
On either side he spreads his yellow vales 
With strips of foamy streams and fringe of green. 
As a merchant of the storied East unfolds 
His gorgeous wealth of green and yellow silks. 

'Tis harvest time, and valiant nature bears 
Upon earth's broad and never-failing bosom 
A yellow shield of bright and gleaming gold, 
Wrought out by patient husbandman to guard 
His sturdy race against the hosts of famine. 

Lifting the purple curtains of the gods 
With flashing helmets that defy the clouds, 
And make fierce fellowship with undimm'd stars, — 
Mount Hood ! and fair Saint Helens ! snows eternal 



737830 



loo IN A. 

As the sun, — from this my mossy mountain throne. 
With lifted and uncovered head, I greet ye 1 

Soft SHOW)' breasts on Nature s swelling bosom — 
Nature benign and bounteous — let me draw 
Pure inspiration from ye, as a child 
Draws nurture from a loving mother's breast, 
And be your child, yoiu- yearning, wayward child. 
And sitting here as on a parent's knee, 
Gaze wonder-full into the face of Nature. 

Do5 Cablos attend* th* mo^nUin gfsticul'iting and talking to himself. 

Don Carlos. 

Oh for a name that black-eyed maids would sigh 
And lean with parted lips at mention of, 
That I should seem so tall in the minds of men 
That I might walk beneath the arch of heaven, 
And pluck the ripe red stars as I passed on, 
As favomr'd guests do pluck the purple grapes 
That hang above the humble entrance-way 
Of a palm-thatch'd mountain-inn of Mexico. 
Oh, I would give the green leaves of my life 
For something grand and real — undreamed deeds I 
To wear a mantle, broad and richly jewell'd 
As purple heaven fringed with gold at sunset ; 
To wear a crown as dazzling as the sun, 
And, holding up a sceptre lightning charged, 
Stride out among the stars as I have strode 
A barefoot boy among the buttercups. 
Alas ! I am so restless. There is that 
Within me doth rebel and rise against 
The all I am and half I see in others : 
And were't not for contempt of coward act 
Of flying all defeated from the world, 
As if I fear'd and dared not face its ills, 
1 should ere thts have known, known more or less 



\ 



IN A. loi 



Than any flesh that frets this sullen earth. 

I know not where such thoughts will lead me too : 

I have had a fear that they would drive me mad, 

And then have flatter'd my weak self, and said 

The soul's outgrown the body — yea the soul 

Aspires to the stars, and in its struggles 

Does make the dull flesh quiver like an aspen. 

Lamonte. 

What waif is this cast here upon my shore, 
From seas of subtle and uncertain men ? 

Don Carlos. 

Subtle and selfish men ! — ah, that's the term I 

And if you be but earnest in your spleen, 

And the other sex across man's shoulders curse, 

ril stand beside you on this crag and curse 

And hurl my clench'd fists down upon their heads, 

Till I am hoarse as yonder cataract. 

Lamonte. 

Why, no, my friend, I'll not consent to that 
No true man yet has ever cursed a woman ; 
And I — I do not hate my fellow man. 
For man by nature bears within himself 
Nobility that makes him half a god ; 
But as in somewise he hath made himself. 
His universal thirst for gold and pomp. 
And purchased fleeting fame and bubble honors, 
Forgetting good, neglecting helpless age. 
And rushing rough-shod over lowly merit, 
I hold him but a sorry worm indeed ; 
And so have tum'd me quietly aside 
To know the majesty of peacefiil woods. 
There is a freshness there, a perfect fairness. 
A candour and unlanguaged harmony 
That wins you and your worship unawares. 



I02 IXA. 

Don Carlos (as if aloru). 
The fabled fount of youth led many fools. 

Zealous in its pursuit, to hapless death ; 
And yet this thirst for fame, this hot ambition, 
This soft-toned s\Ten-tongue, enchanting Fame, 
Doth lead me headlong on to equal folly, 
Like to a wild bird charm'd by shining coils 
And swift mesmeric glare of deadly snake : 
I would not break the charm, but win a world 
Or die with curses blistering my lips. 

LAJklOXTE. 

You starde me I I am unused to hear 
Men talk these fierce and bitter thoughts ; and yet 
In closed recesses of mv soul was once 
A dark and gloomy chamber where they dwelt 
Give up ambition — yea, crush out such thoughts 
As you would crush from hearth a scorpion-brood : 
For, mark me well, they'll get the mastery. 
And drive you on to death — or worse, across 
A thousand ruin'd homes and broken hearts. 

Don Carlos. 

Give up ambition I Oh, rather than die. 
And glide a lonely, nameless, shivering ghost 
Down the dark tide of utter nothingness, 
I'd write a name in blood and orphans' tears. 
The temple-burner wiser was than kings. 
Yet violence is not my inner nature : 
I would embalm ray name in noblest good, 
Would die a death'^of lofty^self-denial, 
If but the world beheld the sacrifice 
And men took note and told my fame to her, 
That she might weep for spite and envy me 



4 



\ 



IN A, 103 

My sweet applause \ and dignity of death. 

rd write a song eternal as the sun, 

As chaste and beautiful as is the moon, 

That men might riad even as they read the stars 

In their enameird/ setting in the ring 

Above, the crescent blue, in deep delight ; 

Denied the art and opportunity, 

I'd leap strong arm'd upon the centre stage 

Of this uncertain, accidental life. 

Snatch up the slackened reins, and ruthless guide 

The idle energies of the monster mob, 

Reckless of every cost or pain to man, 

To my grand honor, glory and renown, 

While he should wonder, worship, call me wise. 

Lamonte. 
But would you dare the curse of man and — 

Don Carlos. 

Dare ! 
I'd dare the curses of the sceptered kings ! 
rd build a pyramid of the whitest skulls. 
And step therefrom unto the spotted moon. 
And thence to stars, thence to the central suns ; 
Then with one grand and mighty leap would land 
Unhindered on the shores of the gods of old. 
And, sword in hand, unbared and unabashed, 
Would stand forth in the presence of the God 
Of gods ; there, on the jewelFd inner-side 
The walls of heaven, carve with a Damascus 
Steel, highest up, a grand and titled name 
That time nor tide could touch or tarnish ever. 
Yea, any thing on earth, in hell or heaven. 
Rather than lie a nameless clod forgot. 
Letting stern Time in triumph forward tramp 
Above my tombless and neglected dust. 



{ 



104 INA. ' 

/ 

Lamonte. 

Seek not to crop above the heads of men 
To be a better mark for env/s shafts. . 
Come to my peaceful home, and leave oehind 
These stormy thoughts and daring aspirations. 
It is revenge that shows the savage heart, 
And earthly power's a thing comparative. 
Is not a petty chief of some lone isle, 
With half-a-dozen nude and starving subjects, 
As much a king as he the Czar of Rusk ? 
In yonder sweet retreat and balmy place 
I'll abdicate, and you be chief indeed. 
There you will reign and tell me of the world, 
Its life and lights, its sins and sickly shadows. 
The pheasant will reveilld beat at mom. 
And rouse us to the battle of the day. 
My swarthy subjects will in circle sit. 
And, gazing on your kingly presence, deem 
You great indeed, and call you chief of chiefs ; 
And, knowing no one greater than yourself 
In all the leafy borders of your realm, 
'Gainst what can pride or poor ambition chafe ? 

Twill be a kingdom without king, save you, 
Broader than that the cruel Cortes won. 
With subjects truer than he ever knew, 
That know no law but only Nature's law. 
And no religion know but that of love. 
There truth and beauty are, for there is Nature, 
Serene and simple. She will be our priestess. 
And in her calm and uncomplaining face 
We will read well her rubric and be wise. 

A glass-like lake lies on this mountain-top ; 
You bend you o'er, and, resting on your palms, 
Gaze down and down full fifty fathoms deep, 
And see the speckled mountain-trout that sport, 



r' 



INA, 105 

All gold and silver-sheathed and scaled, above 
Rich palaces, brown, marble-built and massive, 
Hewn out and built or ever man had named 
The stars — when mighty Nimrod kept the chase. 

Black, quilless pines, perfect as those ashore — 
Proportioned mighty, perfectly erect — 
Stand dark and sullen in the silent courts. 
You cast a pebble in, a nut in size. 
And watch it wind and wind a weary time. 
Then see it plain as if 'twas.in your hand. 
Could you believe a flood could be so pure, 
So mirror-like, so strangely beautiful ? 
Some tall pines press up to the water's edge 
And droop adowh their plumed and sable heads, 
And weep above their buried comrades still 
All night the dewy tears of Nature. 

A league across, the pines have broken rank 
And stand in small platoons, or stand alone : 
While far across the rolling sea-like meads 
Do dash and wheel the spotted Indian steeds. 
The warriors shout and gallop up and down, 
And lovely maids in beaded moccasons. 
Furs thick with red and yellow feathers fringed, 
As tall and straight as water tul^s are, 
Go forth in dusky beauty in their walk 
Beneath the circling shadows of the pines. 
Or bathe and dream along the borders of the lake. 

And far beyond, where pines crowd thick and tall, 
And waters dwindle to a narrow wedge. 
The glad lake opes her pretty gushing mouth, 
And down a foaming cataract of silver 
Pours all her ceaseless song and melody — 
The far source of the lovely Willamette. 

At night, overspread by the rich, purple robe, 
13 



io6 IN A. I 

The deep imperial Tynan hue that folds 

The invisible form of the Eternal God, 

You will see the sentry stars come marching forth 

And take their posts upon the field above, 

Around the great white tent where sleeps their chief ; 

You will hear the kakea singing in a dream 

The wildest, sweetest song a soul can drink. i 

And when the tent is folded up, and all 

The golden-fringed red sentries faced about 

To let the pompous day-king pass along, 

We two will stand upon a sloping hill. 

Where white-lipped springs come leaping, laughing up, 

With water spouting forth in merry song i 

Like bridled mirth from out a school-girFs throat, ^ 

And look far down the benping Willamette, 

And in his thousand graceful curves and strokes 

And strange meanderings, men misunderstand. 

Read the unutterable name of Gdo. 



Don Carlos 

Why, truly now, this fierce and broken land, 
Seen through your eyes, assumes a fairer shape. 
Lead up, for you are nearer God than L 



Scene IIL 

Ina, in black, alone by the tea. Midnight. 

Ina. 

WEEP ? Me to weep ? How 1 laugh to think of it ! 
I lift my dark brow to the breath of the ocean, 
Soft kissing me now like the lips of my mother. 
And laugh low and long as I crush the brown grasses. 
To think I should weep ! Why, I never wept — never. 
Not even in punishments dealt me in childhood ! 
Yea, all of my Avrongs and my bitterness buried 



INA. 107 

In my brave baby heart, all alone and unfriended. 

And I pitied, with proud and disdainfulest pity, 

The weak who would weep, and I laugh'd at the folly 

Of those who could laugh and make merry with play-things • 

Then I tuckM down my chin, and went under the lindens. 

And made me companions of grave homed cattle. 

No ! I will not weep now over that I desired. 
Desired ? Yes : I to myself dare confess it. 
Ah, too, to the world, should it question too closely, 
And bathe me and sport in a deep sea of candor. 
Bah ! Cowards deceive, and I know not what fear is. 
Men lie, who lack courage to tell truth — the cowards I 

Like Lucifer dower'd with pride and wild beauty, 
With poverty cursed and the fiercest ambition, 
I stood all alone by my sweet child-mother ; 
When the kind dotard came and did bend him forward, 
Fast thrusting his beard by my boy, Don Carlos. 
And so I did wed him. Would you know now the reason ? 
I endured the cold frost for the spring-time to follow, 
Did wed to the one for the love of the other. 
And to get for him gold, gave my whole fair body. 

O, alone and unlike to all other things earthly 
Was my brave boy-lover : as an isle mid the oceans 
Of men, so alike as are drops of water. 
He did win my heart by his great defiance 
Of men and manners, and his thoughts unbridled. 
But now made a queen, after all my struggles, 
I shall seek him out and surprise and enrich him : 
And seek him with songs, as a sweet boy-poet. 
I did bear my burden long, loyal and faithful, 
Even down to the end, and did make no murmur : 
But now he is dead, and I dare joy at it. 
And am I then the first that has joyed thus fiercely, 
And held Death's mantle while he did his office ? 






\ 



io8 /Ayl. 

What now if the odds were but this wild courage, 
That does dare shape ihought into plainest language ! 

Let the worid be deceived : it insists upon it ; 
Let it bimdle me round in its black woe-garments ; 
But I, self with selfi — my firee soul fearless — 
Am as firank as the sun, nor the toss of a copper 
Care I if the world call it good or evil. 
I am glad to-night, and in new-bom freedom 
Forget all earth with my old companions, — 
The moon' and the stars and the moon-clad ocean, 
I am &ce to &ce with the stars that know me, 
And gaze as I gazed in the eyes of my mother, i 

Forgetting the city and the coarse things in it ; ( 

For there's naught but God in the shape of mortal, 
Save one — my wandering, wild boy-lover — 
That I do esteem worth a stale banana. 

The air hangs heavy and is warm on my shoulder, 
And is thick with odors of balm and blossom ; 
The great bay sleeps with the ships on her bosom. 

Through the Golden Gate to the left hand-yonder, ^ 

The white sea lies in a deep sleep, snoring, 
The father of melody, the mother of measiu*e, 
Lifting his breast to the moon, deep breathing.- 
Let me sing by the sea a song as he slumbers, 
A song to the air of the sweetest of singers. 



[Sings, 



O tempest-toss'd sea of white bosoms, 
O breasts with demands and desires, 
O hearts fiU'd of fevers, of fires. 
Reaching forth from the tangible blossoms, 
Reaching far for impossible things ! 
Beat not, O break not your warm wings 
On the cruel cold bars any more. 
Lo I the sea, the great sea has his shore, 
And lies in his limit ; the moon 
Has her night, and the sun has his noon. 



IN A, 109 



What a wonderful world truly this is ! 
How barren of wisdom and worth I 
How populous full is the earth 
Of the fools that taste not of its blisses ! 
Then despise not the glories before you, 
With your feet on the things that are real : 

Take the tangible loves that adore you, 
Touch the forms that are flesh and can feel. 

Leaves fade, and the frosts are before us ; 
Leaves fall, and the winter winds are ; 
Loves fail I Let us cross and deplore us ; 
Loves die ! Lift your hands as at war. 
Lift your hands to the world and deny it ; 
Lift your voice, cry aloud and deny ; 
Cry aloud, "Tis a lie !" and belie it 
With lives made a beautiful lie. 



Scene IV. 

A Wood by a rivulet on a spur of Mount Soodj overlooking the 

Columbia. Lamomte and Don Carlos, on their way to the campf 

have met with other hunters^ and are reposing under the shadow of the 

forest. Some deer are observed descending to the brook ^ and one of the 

party seizes his rifle. 

Don Carlos. 

""^TAY, then, my friend, don't strike them from your 

-»-^ covert. 

Strike like a serpent in the grass conceal'd ? 

What, steal into their homes, and, when athirst 

And unsuspecting, they come down in couples 

And dip their muzzles in the mossy brink. 

Then shoot them down without a chance to fly — 

The only means that God has given them, 

Poor unarmed mutes, to baffle cruel man I 

Ah, now I see you had not thought of this ! 



no INA. 

The hare is fleet, and quick at sight and sound, 

His coat is changed with color of the fields ; 

Yon deer turn brown when forest leaves are brown ; 

The dog has teeth, the cat has teeth and claws, 

And man has craft and art and sinewy arms : 

All things that live have some means of defence. . . 

Lucus. 
Ay, all — save only lovely, helpless woman. 

Don Carlos. 
Nay, woman has her tongue — arm'd to the teeth. 

Lucus. 

Thou Timon, what can 'scape your bitterness ? 
But for this sweet repose and peace of Nature, 
Upon whose breast we here recline and dream, 
Why, you might lift your voice and rail at her. 

Don Carlos. 

Oh, I am out of patience with your faith 1 
What ! Nature quiet, peaceful, uncomplaining ? 
IVe seen her fretted like a lion caged, 
Chafe like a peevish woman crossed and churFd, 
Tramping and foaming like a whelpless bear ; 
Have seen her weep till earth was wet with tears. 
Then turn all smiles — a jade that won her point ; 
Have seen her tear the hoary air of Ocean, 
While he, himself full half a world, would moan 
And roll and toss his clumsy hands all day 
To earth like some great helpless babe, that lay 
Rude-rock'd and cradled by an unseen nurse, 
Then stain her snowy hem with salt-sea tears ; 
And when the peaceful, mellow moon came forth, 
To walk and meditate among the yellow 



« 






INA. Ill 

Blooms that make blest the upper purple fields, 
This wroth dyspeptic sea ran after her 
With all his soul, as if to pour himself, 
All sick and helpless, in her snowy lap. 

Content ! Oh, she has crack'd the ribs of earth 
And made her shake poor trembling man far off 
Her back, even as a grizzly shakes the hounds ; 
She has upheaved her rocky spine against 
The flowing robes of the Eternal God. 
Nature is not content. Ha ! I have heard her 
Rushing at night swift down the streaming plain, 
And, when the storm was thick and deep at night 
Have seen her press her face in blacken'd mask 
Against my window-pane, and sob, and weep, 
And wail, until the great round tears ran down ; 
And then, as if in savage desperation, 
Seize violent hold and shake the sash and frame 
Until they quailed and quaked like aspen-leaf 
I did unbar the window for her once, 
This wild-lamenting fretful Nature ; 
She, like a wood-rear'd girl, rushed reckless in 
And hid her trembling in a darkened corner. 
Peer down there, half a league by cliff and bough, 
Into the river's white complaining face. 
And see his gray hair trail'd in shifting sands : 
There comes a wail of terror and despair 
Up from his white and trembling lips a-foam, 
While he uplifts his thin white palms to pines 
That bend dark-brow*d and sad as o'er a tomb. 
No ! 'tis a pretty thought and pretty theme 
That nature reigns in majesty serene : 
But lift the skirts of Isis, and be wise. 

Lucus. 

Heartless ambition and unholy pride ! 
Hatred of man and strange contempt of woman 1 



1 



112 INA, 

At war with all, and your own enemy ! 
While man is man, do not attempt to shine 
Too bright : consult your peace, beware of pride ; 
For malice shoots alone at shining marks. 
Beware of pride. I once did hear a leam'd 
Man say, " By pride the angels fell from heaven." 

Don Carlos. 
By pride they reached a place from which to fall. 

Lucus. 

And were they better, happier, having thus • 

Ascended, then prostrate to fall so far ? "^ 

Don Carlos. 

Yes ! Let me only win the love I woo ! 
Enjoy her but one brief hour, then lose all, 
I will be winner that one gracious hour ; 
And in my memory then will I possess 
A waird spring hung about with cooling palms, 
Where weary recollection traversing 
The barren desert of my life, might pause 
And bathe herself, and, resting, rise refreshed. 
There be some men with hope so full and strong, 
Their souls feed on the future — a green field — 
But mine will not go on, but backward turns 
As if for something lost or left behind : ; 

Goes back against my will, an endless lane, ^ 

A stray sheep from the flock that ever keeps 
The dusty centre of the unwater'd way. 
And looks up weary at the fastened gates 

That lead to cooling springs and verdant banks, \ 

But closed against me when at first I pass'd. ' 

LcTcus. 
There was one once of nature like to this : 



1 

\ 



\ 
\ 






INA. 113 

He stood a barehead boy upon a cliff 

Kne-crown'd, that hung high o'er a bleak north sea ; 

His long hair streamed and flash'd like yellow silk, 

His sea-blue eyes lay deep and still as lakes 

O'erhung by mountains arched in virgin snow ; 

And far astray, and friendless and alone, 

A tropic bird blown through the north frost-wind, 

He stood above the sea in the cold white moon. 

His thin face lifted to the flashing stars, 

And talked familiarly full face to face 

With the Eternal God in solemn night. 

Confronting him with free and flippant air 

As one confronts a merchant o*er his counter. 

And in his vehement blasphemy did say : 

" God, put aside this world — show me another ! 

God, this world is a cheat — hand down another ! 

I will not buy — not have it as a gift. 

Put it aside and hand me down another — 

Another, and another, still another. 

Till I have tried the fairest world that hangs 

Upon the walls and broad dome of your shop, 

The finest one that has come from your hand ; 

For I am proud of soul and regal bom. 

And will not have a cheap and cheating world." 

Don Carlos. 
The noble youth I So God gave him another ? 

Lucus. 

What, he, the poor blasphemous and crazy beggar ! 
So must you speak, or else the world will hiss you. 
Of these brave spirits God tries in His fire. 
Then takes unto Himself, as guards in heaven — 
Loves them and takes them as his own companions 
In their strong youth, as the old Greeks have said. 
Leaving their dust in tracts most desolate, 
14 



1 14 INA. 

A bear, as in old time, came from the woods 
And tore him there upon that storm-swept difF — 
A grim and grizzled bear, like unto hunger. 
A tall ship saird adown the sea next mom, 
And, standing with his glass upon the prow, 
The captain saw a vulture on a cliff. 
Gorging, and pecking, stretching his long neck, 
Bracing his raven plumes against the wind, 
Fretting the tempest with his sable feathers. 

Don Carlos. 

Twas wrong, he should have lived and fought it out. 
This nursing a gushing heart of sentiment 
Does bring contempt on half the schemes of life. 
Tears are a woman's weapons, sorry things 
Even in her, but in man despicable. 
What ! lie down and be rode upon rough-shod ? 
No ! face and fight, and be at least respected. 
The lion is not a comely beast, but brave, 
And is therefore revered above all beasts. 
And, bravest of the brave, is chosen king. 
God and his angels fought for heaven ; Christ 
Did beat with thongs the craven money-changers ; 
The chosen Peter wore a willing sword. 
The stormy elements war through all the year ; 
Spring and bluff Winter strive for mastery ; 
Autumn and Winter struggle on the heath, 
And I have seen them wrestle in the woods 
Until the yellow leaves were all awhirl, 
And sighs and groans went up and down the hills. 

He sought the impossible — asked good unmix'd, 
Asked peace on earth where there is no peace. 
Here do the kernel and the chaff all blend, 
And good and evil intwine. Hereafter, 
After the harvest, the segregation. 
Even the Christ, two thousand years ago, 



< 



i 



INA, 115 

In the far dawn while yet the world was young, 
Newer, and purer from the hand of God, 
Did find a traitor in His chosen twelve. 

Lamonte. 

There's that in you that draws my soul to yours ; 
Your head, I fear, but not your heart, is wrong. 
I will not answer now, but summon you 
To yon grand courts to give in evidence, 
Where sleep the monarchs of 4 thousand storms, 
For ever still in shrouds of color'd moss. 
While green vines twine a pretty wreath above, 
As crowning graves of dear and gallant dead ; 
The Yew, in cloak of everlasting green. 
Does sweep her pretty palms in winning eloquence, 
While scarlet berries bead her lisping boughs 
Like threaded drops of rainbow-painted dew. 
Or pearls upon an Indian maiden's limbs. 
Reposing there on couch of mossy carpet, 
Where darkest green is wove with yellow moss, 
And yellow wove with green, all undisturbed 
By sight or sound save birds of sweetest song. 
While mighty trees above receive the red 
And hot darts of the sun on bearded helmets, 
Will come to you the higher evidence. 
Stronger a thousandfold and more convincing 
Than if produced by oath of all mankind. 
With me in my untraversed wilds and caves. 
My kingdom unexplored, you will read the book 
Of Nature that unclasp*d lies, while the winds 
Mesmeric as the fingers of your love 
Will turn the living leaves as you read on — 
Will paint in lambent amber hues and Tyrian, 
And strike in plaintive mellow tone a harp 
That hangs upon the lightning-shiver'd pine ; 
And, reading, we shall happier grow and better. 
Nature will mightier seem yet milder there, 
Because we shall be nearer to her face. 



ii6 INA, 

Don Carlos. 

And if I should, what then ? What though I met 
My maker face to face, as in the Mount ? 
Left mountain-bound in islands of the clouds, 
What fame or fortime could betide me there ? 
I had as well know secrets of deep death, 
Or hold in hand the keys of Caesar^s coffers. 
And be for evermore forbid their use, 

Lamonte. 

Why, no ! You'd gather up pure gems of thought. 
Or catch bright fancies one by one that flit 1 

You by like beauteous Orient birds, and cage , 

Them up between a precious volume's lids; ! 

Or like one gathering gold from out the sand, | 

A little here, a little there, then all I 

Mould in one bright and shining shield, and so 
Bearing it up, descend upon the world 
Like some proud conqueror of olden time ; 
Or shine forth in the newness of your thought 

Like some bright lovely star that hastens forth j 

Before its mates, chasing the sullen sun. 
And so be seen and known of all the world. 

Don Carlos. 

What is there new atop of this old world ? 
Should e'er I come to write your books, why I * 

Would search among the quaint and dusty tomes 
While the selfish world sought pleasure and repose, 
And Shoddy did up the European tour 
Much as a blockhead schoolboy does a task, 
While men well skill'd in sales of soap and lard. 

And leam'd in all the art of packing pork, % 

Would coarsely tramp the sacred dust that deeds, 
When earth was blithe and young, have made immortal 



INA. 117 

(Where I would softly tread unshod and bared). 

I'd pick up here and there from dusty masters 

The ancient coins of loftiest, noblest thought, 

And cast them in one shining shield of bronze, 

And bearing it aloft high-heralded, 

Well flank'd with sheets of broad advertisements. 

Be call'd a bard of new-inspired song. 

I'd throttle modest mien and word in this 

Swift age, as base traducers of my fame ; 

rd cast meek modesty into the sea. 

The Jonah that had brought me all my trouble. 

Fd plant a preface full afront my book 

As you would plant a battery in war. 

And, bearing down all things that dared oppose. 

With shout and flourish take the world by storm. 

Or at the least I'd hold a touching tale 

Before my book as you would hold a shield, 

And with it catch or turn aside the darts 

And poison'd shafts of killing criticism. 

But mind you, fame is not now won with ink, 

The author's pen's a lever, lifting others ; 

The stain of blood is readier seen from far. 

And gold like some bright star's at once beheld 

By all the world throughout the darkest day, 

And instant wins the worship of the mob. 

The world has tum'd shopkeeper — go, sell, sell ; 
Put on yourself a costly price, to sell : 
Real cash-customers buy no cheap goods. 
The mob has now got hold the money-bags. 
And skillful judges of com, pork, and cabbage 
Do judge men by their arrogance and name. 
Assume a lofty air and sounding title — 
The barefaced fools outnumber and outshout 
The men of sense and solid worth and thought. 
The gilded chiseU'd vessels that encase 
Most stupid, sour, and unwholesome wines 
At once are pluck'd at by the money-mob, 



ii8 INA. 

The while the plain but precious bottled liquor 
Accumulates the dust of generations. 

Go, buy and sell. Get gold. A golden lever 
Moves more than e'er the Syracusan might 
Deceit brings wealth, wealth buys the bubble fame, 
Fame lulls the fever of the soul, and makes 
Us feel that we have grasped an immortality. 

Oh, I have mock'd at man and shook with mirth. 
Yet is in aU a sort of savage justice. 
Have you no time observed with what an odd 
Yet an impartial hand are things divided ? 
The fool has fortunes thrust upon him, while, 
The man of brains is pinch'd with penury. 
The dolt who feels as much of sentiment 
As a milch-cow, fed in her field of clover, 
Goes on serene through sweetest-smelling meads. 
With maidens fainting for a breath of love, 
And heiresses cast at his empty head 
By fond mammas, when'er he please to show it ; 
While he of finest sense is blown -by fate. 
Like some sea-waif, upon the frontier wild. 
The prettiest maiden is a screeching parrot, 
While she of wit is shorn of all of beauty ; 
The gifted man is stooped and sallow-pale, 
The ass stands six feet up of lovely flesh ; 
Wisdom means age and gout and ugliness. 
While the crude boy has health and ruddy beauty, 
And wisdom's sovereign head is bow'd and bald, 
And the rich man envies the beggar's stomach. 

Lamonte. 

Give me your hand, your right in this my left — 
Its blood comes nearer from the heart ; and then, 
My right is dead, deader than this your love ; 
For love, like Lazarus, can only sleep, 



INA. 119 

But, breathed upon by love and hope, will rise — 
Rise up a loftier and a holier love. 
I know you now ; I am an elder brother, 
For sorrow and deceit have made us kin. 
From want and disappointment, bitter breasts, 
We two have drawn our stormy natures. 

A Young Hdntbr ascends the mountain and approaches. 

Don Carlos. 

Ho ! whom, now, have we hear ? Talk of the devil, 
And he is at hand. Say, who are you, and whence ? 

Hunter. 
I am a poet, and dwell down by the sea. 

Don Carlos. 

A poet ! a poet, forsooth ! Fool ! hungry fool 1 
Would you know what it means to be a poet ? 
It is to want a friend, to ^vant a home, 
A coimtry, money, — ay, to want a meal. 
It is not wise to be a poet now. 
For the world has so fine and modest grown 
It will not praise a poet to his face. 
But waits till he is dead some hundred years, 
Then uprears marbles cold and stupid as itself 

But rest you here, and while the red-hot sun 
Wheels on, and sleep my friends beneath the boughs, 
Do, pray, beguile the hour with a song. 

Hunter (sings). 

1 am as one unlearned, uncouth, 
From country come to join the youth 
Of some sweet town in quest of truth ; 



I20 IN A, 



1^ 



A Nazarene of wood and plain 
A-west, from whence no good may come. 
I stand apart as one that's dumb. 
I hope — I fear — I hasten home. 
I plunge into my wilds again. 

I catch some dulcet symphonies, 

I drink the low sweet melodies 

That stream through dense dark feathered trees 

Like echoes from some far church bell, 
Or music on the water spilled 
Beneath the still moon's holy spell, 
And life is sweeter — ^all is well — 

The soul is fed. The heart is filled, 

I move among my frowning firs, 
Black bats wheel by in rippled whirs, 
A\^ile naught else living breathes or stirs. 

1 peep — I lift the boughs apart — 
I tiptoe up — I try to rise — 
I strive to gaze into the eyes 
Of charmers charming very wise — 

I coin their faces on my heart. 

I hear them on the Northern hills 
Discoursing with the beaded rills, 
While over all the full moon spills 

Her flood in gorgeous plenilune. 
White skilful hands sweep o'er the strings, 
I heed as when a seraph sings, 
I learn to catch the whisperings, 

I list into the nighfs sweet noon. 
I see them by the Eastern strand, 

A singing sea-shell in each hand. 
And silk locks tossing as they stand. 

And tangled in the toying breeze. 
And lo ! the sea with salty tears. 
While white hands toss and disappear, 



INA, 121 

Doth plead that they for years and years 
Will stay and sing unto the seas. 

Don Carlos. 

Hold ! hold your tongue, and hold my aching head ; 
Tis well for you the Roman mob is dead. 
This stuff of yours is full of pompous's 
As a candidate for Congress is of lies. 
Why talk so loudly of yourself at large ? 
Your neighbors do that for you, free of charge I 
This poetry's not of the heart, but stomach ; 
Not inspiration, but 'tis indigestion 
Disturbs the balance-wheel that rules your brain. 
Love food the less — respect your stomach more, 
For more have groan'd and died from over-use 
Of knives and forks, than ever fell in war 
By bloody sword and bayonet and ball. 

\The Hunter me« ar^ moves away. 

Don Carlos. 
Why, what's the haste ? You'll reach there soon enough. 

Hunter. 

Reach where ? 

Don Carlos. 

The Inn to which all earthly roads do tend : 
The " neat apartments fumish'd — see within ;" 
The " furnish'd rooms for quiet, single gentlemen ;" 
The narrow six-by-two where you will lie 
With cold blue nose pointing up to the grass, 
Labeird and box'd and ready all for shipment. 
'Twas said of old that all roads led to Rome, 
But all roads now do lead to this small Inn. 
'Tis just so many leagues ahead of you, 
Why, then, make haste to cross the space between ? 

15 



1 



129 INA. 

Scene V. 

Lamontb'b Camp-fire in the McwnUmu, 

DoK Cab lo8| Lahontb, the Hcnteb, and othere, eeated around^ tmoking 
and telling taU» qf home and how they came to take to the Mountains. 

Old Lamontk, the mountaineer, lounging at one tide, talking with the 
Young Hunter, and pointing out to him hie new companiont : — 

I GREET you welcome to these wild mountains, 
As will these my comrades at their good leisure. 
And now, meantime, that you'll know them better, 
Yon fair-hair'd man, all in beaded buckskin 
And belt of wampum, now peering skyward, 
Is noble young Lucus, a heart-sick lover 
That has fled a coward from the shafts of Cupid, 
Fearing far less the red Indian's arrows. 
The man beyond him, thick-lipp'd and surly, 
Tis said, is a patriot from merry old England 
Who took to these mountains for the good of his country. 
To the left, by the pine, is a doUarless marquis 
At talk with a scholar high-bred, of Oxford, 
Self-exiled, say, for some gay peccadillo. 
Beyond, in the shade, is a Southern gentleman 
Talking with one of his ten brown women. 
That black Kanuk, with his hair on his shoulders. 
Has herds and leagues on the North Red River, 
And wigwams alive with olive-hued children. 
Over here, with his pipe, is a thoughtfullest German, 
Profound, it is said, in his lore and letters. 
And silent in all of the tongues of Europe. 
Yon fast young man, with a rose in his bosom, 
Is a Spaniard waiting for a dear relation 
To die, to come to his hard-eam*d fortune. 
And last I name is a long-nosed Yankee, 
Shrewdly watching to improve his chances. 
Ready to trade, trap, preach, or peddle. 
Such are the men of the rough Rocky Mountains, 
Not hairy monsters as some do pronounce us, 



IN A. 123 

But men blown up from the world's four quarters, 

Gentle or vicious, serene or savage, 

Common alone in undoubted courage. 

Hist ! list and learn, as they tell their adventures. 

A grey Frenchman ends a tale thus: 

Alas, the sight I saw that night ! 
Alas, that I should tremble here ! 
I know 'tis not a coward fear, 
And yet I shiver as in fright 

The blue fields blossom'd yellow bloom 
Of brilliants set in purple gloom, 
A silver shield slid on and on 
Between me and the better land. 
And I was glad. I kiss'd my hand 
To melting stars and mellow moon — 
I left the full feast oversoon; 
And sought the peerless paragon. 
Gay jesting at her clever art 
In hiding in some spot unknown, 
I sought her, thought her mine, my own — 
I had despised a baser thought. 
I sought her as I would be sought 
With boundless faith and beating heart, 
Fiird full of sweet uncertainties. 
Among the moonlit, fruited trees. 

Alas, the sight I saw that night 
Through striped bars of streaming light, 
And boughs that whisper'd plaintively 
In solemn- sympathy with me ! 
A red dead leaf was in her hair. 
Full half a swelling breast was bare, 
And mad disorder everywhere. 
And, gliding through a thorny brake 
And sliding like a slimy snake. 






1 34 IN A. 

I saw him stooping steal away 
Like serpent caught in Paradise, 
That hid it from the face of day 
With guilty and unholy eyes, 

I saw a sight that night, that night. 
Because I could not help but see — 
Because the moon was bleached so white — 
Because the stars were yellow light — 
Because they blossom'd in a tree 
And dropped their blossoms on the grass — 
And saw because, alas, alas I 
An evil spirit guided me. 1 

\ 

He was my friend. He ate my bread. i 

He counseird very wise and well ; ] 

" I love you more than words can tell," i 

He many and many a time had said. 

He suck'd the juices from my fniit j 

And left for me the bitter rind. 
I am not crazed — it was unkind 
To suck the sweetness from my fruit 
And give me back the bitter rind, i 

And did I curse or crush or kill ? 
Go down to yonder wooden gate, 
Go down, go down, it groweth late ; 
You hesitate and hesitate — 
I tremble as if in a chill. 

It opened very wide that night, 
For two went through — but one returned : 

And when its rusty hinges tum'd, ' 

They creak'd as if in pain or fright 

Three finger-prints are on the bar — 
Three finger-prints of purple gore. ' 

You scan my hand — here, scan it more, 



INA. las 

And count my fingers o'er and o'er, 
You cannot see a sign of gore. 
I lost one finger in the war, 
And is it not an honor'd scar ? 

Don Carlos. 

Woman ! and still the sad burden is woman I 

O most valiant, most gallant gentleman, 

Frighten'd from home by the flirt of a petticoat I 

Well, sigh to the moon and delight in delusions. 

And dream that she too turns a pale face to heaven. 

Bah ! barely your shadow goes out from her threshold 

Before she is turning all smiles on another. 

But you, yon gray trapper there, storm-stained and 

grizzled. 

And gazing still dreamily into the fire, 

Sure you have a tale without burden of woman. 

Come, call your far thoughts from the mountain or 
plain. 

In the wars with the savage, and fight them again. 

The Trapper. 

{StiU gazing into thefire^ and speaking in a low tone at if to 

himself.) 

Back, backward to-night is memory traversing, 
Over the desert my weary feet travell'd. 
Thick with the wreck of my dear heart-idols 
And toppled columns of my ambition. 
Red with the best of my hot heart's purple. 

This then is all of the sweet life she promised ; 
This then is all of the fair life I painted ! 
Dead, ashen apples of the Dead-Sea border I 
Ah yes, and worse by a thousand numbers. 
Since that can be lifted away as we will it. 
While desolate life with it dead hopes buried 
Clings on to the clay, though the soul despise it. 



136 INA. 

Down under the hill and there under the fir-tree 
By the spring, and looking far out in the valley, 
She stands as she stood in the glorious Olden, 
Swinging her hat in her right hand dimpled, 
The other hand toys with a honey-suckle. 
That has tiptoed up and is trying to kiss her. 
Her dark hair is twining her neck and her temples 
As tendrils some beautiful Balize marble. 

" O eyes of lustre and love and passion ! 

radiant face like the sea-shell tinted ! ' 
White cloud with the sunlDcams tangled in it I ^' 

1 cried, as I stood in the dust beneath her, 

And gazed on the goddess my boy-heart worshipped 
With a love and a passion, a part of a madners. 

" Dreamer," she said, and a tinge of displeasure 
Swept over her face that I should disturb her, 
"All of the fair world is spread out before you ; 
Go down and possess it with love and devotion. 
And heart ever tender and touching as woman's. 
And life shall be fair as the first kiss of morning." 
I turned down the pathway, was blinded no longer : 
Another was coming, tall, manly, and bearded. 

I built me a shrine in the innermost temple — 
In the innermost rim of the heart's red centre — 
And placed her therein, sole possessor and priestess, 
And carved all her words on the walls of my temple. 
They say that he woo'd her there under the fir-tree. 
That he won her one eve, when the katydids mock*d 

her. 
He may have a maiden and call her Merinda \ 
But mine is the one that stands there for ever 
Leisurely swinging her hat by the ribbons. 
They tell me her children reach up to my shoulder. 
'Tis false. I did see her down under the fir-tree 
When the stars were all busy a-weaving thin laces 



INA 

Made red with their gold and the moon's yellow tresses, 
Swinging her hat as in days of the Olden. 

True, that I spoke not nor ventured to touch her — 
Touch her ! I sooner would pluck the sweet Mary, 
The mother of Jesus, from arms of the priesthood, 
As they kneel at the altar in holy devotion ! 

*^^ ^^« ^^* ^^0 ^^0 

^^ 0^ ^^ ^K ^K 

And it was for this that my heart was kept tender, 
Fashioned from thine, O sacristan maiden ? — 
That coarse men could pierce my warm heart to the 

purple ? 
That vandals could enter and burn out its freshness ? 
That rude men could trample it into the'ashes ? — 
Oh was it for this that my heart was kept open ? 
I looked in a glass, not the heart of my fellow, 
Whose was the white soul I saw there reflected ? 
But trample the grape that the wine may flow freely ! 

Beautiful priestess, be with me for ever I 
You still are secure. They know not your temple, 
They never can find it, nor pierce it, nor touch it, 
Because in their hearts they know no such temple. 
I turned my back on them, a Seminole banished, 
Much indeed leaving in dark desolation. 
But bearing one treasure alone that is dearer 
Than all they possess or have fiercely torn from me : 
A maiden that stands looking far down the valley 
Swinging her hat by its long, purple ribbons. 

Don Carlos, 

Worse and worse, and the burden still woman 1 
The crucifixion of rhyme and of reason. 
With the sweet Christ-truth bleeding dead between 

them ! 
Here you, young rover, or hunter, or poet. 
If you have wit, here's a chance to show it ; 



137 



I a8 INA, 

Give us at least some rhymes that jingle, 
Nor jar the soul till the senses tingle. 

Hunter (sings). 

Alone on this desolate border, 
On this ruggedest rimm'd frontier, 
Where the hills huddle up in disorder 
Like a fold in mortal fear. 
Where the mountains are out at the elbow 
In their yellow coats seedy and sere. 
Where the river runs sullen and yellow, 
This dismallest day of the year. 

I go up and down on the granite, \ 

Like an unholy ghost under bans. i 

Christ ! for the eloquent quiet ! I 
For the final folding of hands ! 

What am I ? Where am I going, 

With these turbulent winds that are blowing ? 

What sowing of wind in the lands, 

And what shall I reap from such sowing ? 

1 look at the lizard that glides 
Up over the mossy boulders, 

With green epaulets on his shoulders, 
And regiment-stripes on his sides. 

My feet are in dust to the ankles \ 
My heart, it is dustier still ; 
Will never the dust be levelFd 
Till the heart is laid under the hill ? 
I look at the sun sliding over, 
A cloud is swinging on hinges 
And is trying his glory to cover. 
But see ! his beams in the fringes 
Are tangled and fastened in falling, 
And a sailor above us is calling 
" Untangle the ravels and fringes." 



IN A. 129 



In grim battle-lines up o'er us 
Gray, shapely ships are wheeling, 
Hulk, sail, and shroud revealing, 
A flash, a crash appalling, 
A hurling of red-hot spears, 
Hark ! terrible thunder calling 
In fierce infernal chorus ! 
Now silver sails are falling 
Like silver sheens before us. 



What Nelson to fame aspires 
In the chartless bluer deep 
Where white ships toss and tack ? 
And what armed host appears ? 
Lo ! I have seen their fires 
In blue fields where they sleep 
At night, in the bivouac \ 
And they battle, bleed, and weep, 
For this rain is warm as tears. 



Oh ! why was I ever a dreamer? 
Better a brute on the plain, 
Or one who believes his redeemer 
Is greed, and gold, and gain ; 
Or one who can riot and revel, 
Than be pierced by unbearable pain, 
With poesy darling, in travail. 
That will not be bom from the brain. 



O bride by the breathing ocean, 
With lustrous and brimming eye, 
Pour out the Lethean potion 
Till a lustrum roUeth by, 
Lulling a souPs commotion, 
Plashing against the sky — 

16 



1 

i 



130 /JVA, 

Calming a living spectre 

With its two hands toss'd on high. 



Come to me, darling, adorning 
Like Aurora the desolate region ; 
Come with step stately as morning, 
Or come like the march of a legion, 
Or come without caution or warning, 
Or come like the lordly tycoon, 
Or in majesty like to the moon. 
But come, and come soon, over-soon. 



I 



Are the sea-winds mild and mellow 
Where my sun-brown'd babies are, 
A-weaving the silken and yellow | 

Seam'd sunbeams over their hair ? 
Go on and go on in disorder, 
O cloud with the silver-red rim. 
While tangled up in your bright border, 
The glinting silk sunbeams swim. 



Don Carlos (yawning). 



Oh ! why indulge in such gipsy jargon. 
Since maids must mock, and men slay to protect them 
A song like to this with a savagest silence ? 
I fear, young man, you mistake your calling ; 
Why not fall the forests, plant red potatoes ? 
Or what of the art of raising green pumpkins. 
And tall topped corn with its silks of silver ? 
Or may be some sheep could endure your measuret 
On the Yamhill hills, if you must aspire, 
As you swing a crook, and so sweep your lyre. 



INA. 131 

Hunter. 



The bird sings in the busy spring, 
The sea sings in his booming swells, 
And all his pink and pearly shells 
Sing of the sea, and ever sing. 
You break the shell or bear it far 
From ocean as the morning star, 



Yet stili it sings, fast bound or free, 
In mellow measures, of the sea. 
And I shall sing and sing and sing, 
Sing ill or well, though men do chide, 
Until a hand in mine is laid 
To lead nnto the other side. 
Afar a ploughboy's song is heard. 
In chorus with the building bird, 
My song is his — his my reward. 



I heard a red breast on the wall. 
And then I heard the truants' call. 
And cast a storm of earth and stone. 
He flew, and perch'd him far and lone, 
Above a rushing cataract, 
Where never living thing had tracked — 
Where mate nor man nor living thing 
Could ever heed or hear him sing; 
And there he sang his song of spring, 
As if a world were listening. 
He sang because he could but sing, 
Sweet bird, for he was bom to sing. 



A million hearts have felt as much 
As ever prince of poets told, 



131 INA. 

With souls that scom'd a colder touch 

Than love reiined to finest gold, 

Yet drove the team and tum'd the mould, 

And whistled songs and tragedies 

That would have thrilFd to rage or tears ; 

The beam and moon their lance and shield, 

A moat, the furrow deep and broad ; 

And lived content through all their years 

In one long paradise of peace. 

Unheard beyond their broken sod. 

And shall I then be less than these ? 



They kept their fields', their flocks increase. 
And walk'd their ideal world in peace, 
They would not drag it down to fit 
The mass of men with golden god — i 

They could not drag man up to it, ' 

So lived and died without complain. 
All tuneless in their full refrain. 
They break in billows through the sod. 



A million poets God hath wrought \ 
But very few have made pretence, 
And fewer still found utterance ; 
For words are shackles unto thought, 
And fancies fetter'd down by words 
Droop dull and tame as prisoned birds, 
Lose all the bright hues of the sky, 
As does the claspfed butterfly. 



( 



\Ai tht YouMO HuNTKR coticludeaj Don Carlos apart, and looking tkngn 
the mountain to the declining moon continuea : — ] 

Well, he would make you a good maid-servant ; 



JNA. 133 

I could say, " She can come to you well recommended ;'* 

For behold he has sung till they sleep most soundly. 

The thin, sullen moon, pale-faced, and crooked 

As a half-starved kine, a most vicious heifer, 

Is sliding down in all haste from heaven, 

To gore in the flank of yon sleeping mountain. 

My comrades sleep, and does sleep all Nature ; 

The world has a rest and a truce till to-morrow ; 

There is peace, and surcease of sin and of sorrow ; 

All things take rest but I — 



Hunter. 

And I only, 
Your minstrel and whilom your roving young hunter. 



\Loo9tning hia hair from hit thoiUden. 



Ah me ! My Don Carlos, look kindly upon me ! 
With my hand on yom: arm and my dark brow lifted 
Up level to yours, do you not now know me ? 
Tis your own, own Ina, you loved by the ocean, 
In the warm-spiced winds from the far Cathay, 
O welcome me now after all my struggles, 
And years of waiting and my weary journeys. 



Don Carlos (bitterly). 



" And he received her with his arms extended. 
And they were wedded, and lived long and happily, "- 
At least so runneth the oft-told story. 
But life is prosy, and my soul uprises 



IS4 /AT^ 

Against you, madam, as you stand before me 

With the smell of the dead man still upon you. 

And your dark hair wet from his death-damp forehead. 

You are not my Ina, for she is a memory, 

A marble chisseird, in my hearf s dark chamber 

Set up for ever, and nought can change her ; 

And you are a stranger, and the gulf between us 

Is wide as the Plains, and as deep as Pacific. 

No ! lips blood-stain'd and your limbs polluted 

Shall tempt me not from my lordly mountains. 



But now, good-by. In your serape folded. 
Hard by in the heat of the pine-knot fire. 
Sleep you as sound as you will be secure ; 
And on the morrow — now mark me, madam — 
When to-morrow comes, why, you will turn you I 

To the right or left as did Father Abram. 
Good-night, for ever and for aye, good-by ; 
My bitter is sweet and your truth is a lie. 



( 



Ina (letting go his ai^m and stepping back). 



Well then I 'tis over, and 'tis well thus ended ; 
I am well escaped from my life's devotion. 
The waters of bliss are a waste of bitterness ; 
The day of joy I did join hands over, 
As a bow of promise when my years were weary, 
And set high up as a brazen serpent 
To look upon when I else had fainted 
In burning deserts, while you sipp'd ices 
And snowy sherbets, and roam'd unfettered, 
Is a deadly asp in the fruit and flowers 
That you in your bitterness now bring to me ; 
But its fangs unfasten and it glides down from me, 
From a Cleopatra of cold white marble. 



r 






INA. 135 

I have but done what I would do over, 
Did I find one worthy of so much devotion ; 
And, standing here with my clean hands folded 
Above a bosom whose crime is courage. 
The only regret that my heart discovers 
Is that I should do and have dared so greatly 
For the love of one who deserved so little. 
And as for my lips' and my limbs' pollution. 
They are purer than any strong man's new-wedded, 
Stain'd without purpose in his coarse brute-passion. 



Nay, say no more, nor attempt to approach me ; 
This ten-feet line lying now between us 
Shall never be less while the land has measure. 
See ! night is forgetting the east in the heavens ; 
The birds pipe shrill and the beasts howl answer ; 
The red sun reaches his arms from the ocean. 
And the dusk and the dawn kiss hands good-by, 
But not for ever, as do you and I. 



> 



r 



THE TALE OF THE TALL ALCALDE, 



17 



Shadcws that shroud the to-morrow^ \ 

Glists from the life thafs within, . 

Traces of pain and of sorrow , I 

And maybe a trace of sin, I 

Reachings for God in the darkness. 
And for — what should have been. 

Strains from the gall and the wormwood. 

Memories bitter like myrrh, | 

A sadf brown face in a fir'wood, \ 

Blotches of heart'* s blood here. 
But never the sound of a wailing. , 

Never the sign of a tear. 

I 



THE TALE OF THE TALL ALCALDE. 

Thou Italy of the Occideut ! 

Laud of flowers and summer dimes, 

Of holy priests and horrid crimes ; 

Liand of the cactus and sweet cocoa ; 

Richer than all the Orient 

In gold and glory, in want and woe, 

In self-denial, in days misspent. 

In truth, and treason, in good and guilt, 

111 ivied ruins and altars low. 

In hatter'd walls and blood misspilt ; 

Glorious, gory Mexico ! 

TTTHERE mountains repose in their blueness, 
V ^ Where the sun first lands in his newness, 
And marshals his beams and his lances, 
Ere down to the vale he advances 
With visor erect, and rides swiftly 
On the terrible night in his way, 
And slays him, and, daring and deftly. 
Hews from him the beautiful day 
With his flashing sword of silver, — 
Lay nestled the town of Renalda, 
Far known for its famous Alcalde, 
The judge of the mountain mine, 
With a heart like the heart of woman, 
And humanity more than human ; 
And famed for its maids and silver, 
Rich mines and its mountain wine. 

And the royalest feast ot the year was given, 
The yearly feast in commemoration 
Of the Holy Mary's Annunciation ; 
And the ears of night were rent and riven 
By turbulent men made stormy with wine— 



! 



i 



I 



Tff£ TALE OF THE 

Wine \rj viigms press'd from the vine, 

Wine like gold from the San Diego, 

Wine blood-fed from the Saint Bennetto, 

White and yellow and ruddy-red wine. 

And the feast was frill, and the guests afire. 

For the shaven priest and the portly squire, 

The solemn judge and the smiling dandy. 

The duke and the don and the commandante, 

All sat, and shouted or sang divine. 

Sailing in one great sea of wine ; I 

And, roused, red-crested knight Chanticleer 

Answer'd and echo'd their song and cheer. 

They boasted of broil, encounter, and battle. 
They boasted of maidens most cleverly won, 
Boasted of duels most valiantly done, i 

Of leagues of land and of herds of cattle. 
These men at the feast up in fair Renalda. 
All boasted but one, the calm Alcalde, 
Who sat stone-still in the wild wassail. 
Though hard they press'd from first of the feast, 
Press'd commandant^, press'd poet and priest, 
To tell, as the others, his own life's tale ; 
And steadily still the attorney pressed, 
With lifted glass and his face aglow, 
Heedless of host and careless of guest — 
" A tale ! the tale of yoiu- life, so ho ! 
For not one man in all Mexico 
Can trace your history a half decade." 
A hand on the rude one's lips was laid : 
" Sacred, my son," a priest went on, 
" Sacred the secrets of every one, 
Inviolate as an altar-stone. 
But what in the life of one who must 
Have been so pure to be so just, 
Have lived a life that is half divine — 






TALL ALCALDE. 133 

What can there be, O advocate, 

In the life of one so desolate 

Of luck with matron, or love with maid, 

Midnight revel or escapade. 

To stir the wonder of men at wine ? 

But should the Alcalde choose, you know," — 

(And here his voice fell soft and low 

As he set his wine-horn in its place. 

And look'd in the judge's care-worn face) — 

" To weave us a tale that points a moral, 

Out of his vivid imagination, 

Of lass or of love, or lovers' quarrel. 

Naught of his fame or name or station 

Shall lose in lustre by its relation." 

Softly the judge set down his horn, 
Kindly look'd on the priests all shorn, 
And gazed in the eyes of the advocate 
With a touch of pity, but none of hate ; 
Then look'd down into the brimming horn, 
Half defiant and half forlorn. 

Was it a tear ? Was it a sigh ? 
Was it a glance of the priest's black eye ? 
Or was it the drunken revel-cry 
That smote the rock of his frozen heart 
And forced his pallid lips apart ? 
Or was it the weakness like to woman 
Yearning for sympathy 
Through the dark years, 
Spurning the secrecy, 
Burning for tears, 
Proving him human, — 
As he said to the men of the silver mine. 
With their eyes held up as to one divine, 
With his eyes held down to his untouched wine : 



»34 



TflE TALE OF Th£ 

** It tnight have been where mbdnbeattis kneel 

At night beside sohie rugged stefep ; 

tt might haVe been where breakers reel, 

t)t hiild waves cfadle tneh to slfefep j 

It might have been in peaceful life, 

Or mad tumult and storm and strife, 

I drew my breath ; it matters not. 

A silver'd head, a sweetest cot, 

A sea of tamarack and pine, 

A peaceful stream, a balmy clime, 

A cloudless sky, a sister's smile, 

A mother's love, that sturdy time 

Has strengthened as he strengthens wine, 

Are mine, are with me all the while, 

Are hung in memory's sounding halls, 

Are graven on her glowing walls. 
But rage, nor rack, nor wrath of man, 
Nor prayer of priest, nor price, nor ban 
Can wring from me their place or name^ 
Or why, or when, or whence I came ; 
Or why I left that childhood hopae, 
A child of form yet old of soul. 
And sought the wilds where tempests roll 
Round mountains white as driven foam, 

** Mistaken and misunderstood. 
My hot magnetic heart sought round 
And craved of all the souls I knew 
But one responsive throb or touch. 
Or thrill that flashes through and through — 
Deem you that I demanded much ? — 
Not one congenial soul was found. 
I sought a deeper wild and wood, 
A girlish form and a childish face, 
A wild waif drifting from place to place. 



1 



I 




TALL ALCALDE. 

" Oh for the skies of rolling blue, 
The balmy hours when lovers woo, 
When the moon is doubled as in desire, 
The dreamy call of the cockatoo 
From the orange snow in his crest of fire, 
Like vespers calling the soul to bliss 
In the blessed love of the life above, 
Ere it has taken the stains of this ! 



135 



" The world afar, yet at my feet. 
Went steadily and sternly on ; 
I almost fancied I could meet 
The crush and bustle of the street. 
When from the mountain I look'd down. 
And deep down in the canon's mouth 
The long-tom ran and pick-axe rang, 
And pack-trains coming from the south 
Were stringing round the mountain high 
In long gray lines, as wild-geese fly. 
While muFteers shouted hoarse and high 
And dusty, dusky muFteers sang — 
* Seiiora with the liquid eye ! 
No floods can ever quench the flame, 
Or frozen snows my passion tame, 
Jouana with the coal-black eye ! 
O senorita, bide a bye !' 

" Environed by a mountain wall. 
So fierce, so terrible and tall. 
It never yet had been defiled 
By track or trail, save by the wild 
Free children of the wildest wood — 
A wood that rolFd a sullen flood, 
A sea that broke in snowy foam 
Where everlasting glaciers rest. 
Where stars and tempests have a home, 



,36 THE TALE OF THE 

And douds are coil'd in mad unrest 

And whiri'd and swirl'd by crag and crest,- 

An unkiss'd virgin at my feet. 

Lay my pure, halloVd, dreamy vale. 

Where breathed the essence of my tale — 

Lone dimple in the mountain's £su:e. 

Lone Eden in a boundless waste — 

It lay so beautiful ! so sweet ! 

" There in the sun's decline I stood 
By God's form wrought in pink and pearl. 
My peerless, dark-eyed Indian girl ; 
And gazed out from a fringe of wood, 
With full-fed soul and feasting eyes, 
Upon an earthly paradise. 
Inclining to the south it lay. 
And long leagues southward roU'd away, 
Until the sable-feather'd pines 
And tangled boughs and amorous vines 
Closed like besiegers on the scene, 
The while the stream that interwined 
Had barely room to flow between. 
It was unlike all other streams, 
Save those seen in sweet summer dreams ; 
For sleeping in its bed of snow 
Nor rock nor stone was ever known, 
But only shining, shifting sands, 
For ever sifted by unseen hands. '^ 

It curved, it bent like Indian bow, 
And like an arrow darted through, 
Yet utter'd not a sound nor breath. 
Nor broke a ripple from the start ; 
It was as swift, as still as death, 
Yet was so clear, so pure, so sweet, 
It wound its way into your heart 
As through the grasses at your feet. 



I 



TALL ALCALDE, 137 

" Once, through the tall untangled grass, 
I saw two black bears careless pass, 
And in the twilight turn to play ; 
I caught my rifle to my face, 
She chid me with a quiet grace 
And said, * Not so, for us the day, 
The night belongs to such as they.' 

" And then from out the shadow'd wood 
The antler'd deer came stalking down 
In half a shot of where I stood ; 
Then stopped and stamped impatiently, 
Then shook his head and antlers high. 
And then his keen horns backwark threw 
Upon his shoulders broad and brown. 
And thrust his muzzle in the air. 
Snuff 'd proudly ; then a blast he blew 
As if to say, No danger here. 
And then from out the sable wood 
His mate and two sweet dappled fawns 
Stole forth, and by the monarch stood, 
She timid, while the little ones 
Would start like aspens in a gale. 
Then he, as if to reassure 
The timid, trembling, and demure, 
Again his antlers backward threw. 
Again a blast defiant blew, 
Then led them proudly down the vale. 

" I watch'd the forms of darkness come 
Slow stealing from their sylvan home. 
And pierce the sunlight drooping low 
And weary, as if loath to go. 
He stain'd the lances as he bled, 
And, bleeding and pursued, he fled 
Across the vale into the wood. 

18 



13S THE TALk OF THE 

I saw the tall grass bend its head 
Beneath the stately martial tread 
Of the pursuer and pursued. 

'^ ' Behold the clouds,' Winnema said, 

* All purple with the blood of day ; 
The night has conquered in the fray, 
The shadows live, and light is dead/ 

" She tum'd to Shasta gracefully. 
Around whose hoar and mighty head 
Still roird a sunset sea of red, 
While troops of clouds a space below 
Were drifting wearily and slow, 
As seeking shelter for the night, 
Like weary sea-birds in their flight ; 
Then curved her right arm gracefully 
Above her brow, and bow'd her knee. 
And chanted in an unknown tongue 
Words sweeter than were ever sung. 

" * And what means this ? ' I gently said. 

* I spoke to God, the Yopitone, 
Who dwells on yonder snowy throne,' 
She softly said, with drooping head ; 

* I bow'd, to God. He heard my prayer, 
I felt his warm breath in my hair, 

He heard me my desires tell, 
And he is good, and all is well.' 

" The dappled and the dimpled skies, 
The timid stars, the tinted moon, 
All smiled as sweet as sun at noon. 
Her eyes were like the rabbif s eyes, 
Her mien, her manner, just as mild. 
And, though a savage war-chief's child, 



TALL ALCALDE, 139 

She would not harm the lowliest worm. 
And though her beaded foot was firm, 
And though her airy step was true, 
She would not crush a drop of dew. 

" Her love was deeper than the sea, 
And stronger than the tidal rise, 
And clung in all its strength to me. 
A face like hers is never seen 
This side the gates of paradise, 
Save in some Indian-Summer scene. 
And then none ever sees it twice — 
Is seen but once, and seen no more, 
Seen but to tempt the sceptic soul. 
And show a sample of the whole 
That Heaven has in store. 

" You might have pluck'd beams from the moon. 
Or torn the shadow from the pine 
When on its dial track at noon, 
But not have parted us an hour. 
She was so wholly, truly mine. 
And life was one unbroken dream 
Of purest bliss and calm delight, 
A flow'ry-shored, untroubled stream 
Of sun and song, of shade and bower, 
A full-moon'd serenading night. 

" Sweet melodies were in the air, 
And tame birds caroll'd everywhere. 
I listened to the lisping grove 
And cooing pink-eyed turtle-dove, 
And, loving with the holiest love. 
Believing, with a grand belief, 
That every thing beneath the skies 
Was beautiful and bom to love, 



I 

;:4 



140 T//B TALE OF THE 

That man had but to love, believe, 

And earth would be a paradise 

As beautiful as that above, 

My goddess, Beauty, I adored, 

Devoutly, fervid, her alone ; 

My Priestess, Love, unceasing pour'd 

Pure incense on her altar-stone. 

*' I carved my name in coarse design 
Once on a birch down by the way. 
At which she gazed, as she would say, 

* What does this say ? What is this sign ?* 
And when I gayly said, * Some day 
Some one will come and read my name. 
And I will live in song and fame, 

As he who first found this sweet vale. 
Entwined with many a mountain tale, 
And they will give the place my name,* 
She was most sad, and troubled much, 
And look*d in silence far away ; 
Then started trembling from my touch. 
And when she turn'd her face again, 
I read unutterable pain. 

" At last she answered through her tears, 

* Ah ! ytjs ; this, too, fulfils my fears. 
Yes, they will come — ^my race must go 
As fades a vernal fall of snow ; 

And you be known, and I forgot 
Like these brown leaves that rust and rot 
Beneath my feet ; and it is well : 
I do not seek to thrust my name 
On those who here, hereafter, dwell, 
Because I have before them dwelt ; 
They too will have their tales to tell. 
They too will ask their time and fame. 



TALL ALCALDE. 141 

" * Yes, they will come, come even now : 

The dim ghosts on yon mountain's brow, 

Gray Fathers of my tribe and race, 

Do beckon to us from their place. 

And hurl red arrows through the air 

At night, to bid our braves beware. 

A foot-print by the clear McCloud, 

Untight aught ever seen before, 

Is seen. The crash of rifles loud 

\ Is heard along its farther shore.' 

« « « # « 

" What tall and tawny men were these, 
As sombre, silent, as the trees 
They moved among ! and sad some way 
\ With tempered sadness, ever they, — 

Yet not with sorrow bom of fear. 
The shadow of their destinies 
They saw approaching year by year. 
And murmured not. They saw the sun 
Go down ; they saw the peaceful moon 
Move on in silence to her rest. 
And white streams winding to the west : 
And thus they knew that oversoon. 
Somehow, somewhere, for every one 
Was rest beyond the setting sun. 
They knew not, never dreamed, a doubt. 
But turned to death as to a sleep. 
And died with eager hands held out 
To reaching hands beyond the deep, — 
And died with choicest bow at hand. 
And quiver full, and arrow drawn 
For use, when sweet to-morrow's dawn 
Should wake them in the Spirit Land. 

" What wonder that I lingered there 
With Nature's children ! Could I part 



142 THE TALE OF THE 

With those that met me heart to heart, 
And made me welcome, spoke me fair, 
Were first of all that understood 
My waywardness from others' ways, 
My worship of the true and good, 
And earnest love of Nature's God, 
Now that their dark days gathered near. 
And came calamity and fear ? 

idle men of empty days, 

Go court the mountains in the clouds. 
And clashing thunder, and the shrouds 
Of tempests, and eternal shocks. 
And fast and pray as one of old 
In earnestness, and ye shall hold 
The mysteries ; shall hold the rod 
That passes seas, that smites the rocks 
Where streams of melody and song 
Shall run as white streams rush and flow 
Down from the mountains' crests of snow, 
Forever, to a thirsting throng. 

" Between the white man and the red 
There lies no neutral, half-way ground. 

1 heard afar the thunder sound 

That soon should burst above my head, 

And made my choice ; I laid my plan, 

And child-like chose the weaker side ; 

And ever have, and ever will, 

While might is wrong and wrongs remains, 

As careless of the world as I 

Am careless of a cloudless sky. 

With wayward and romantic joy 

I gave my pledge like any boy, 

But kept my promise like a man, 

And lost ; yet with the lesson still 

Would gladly do the same again. 



Tall alcaldm. I43 

" * They come ! they come ! the pale-face come !' 
The chieftain shouted where he stood 
Sharp watching at the margin wood, 
And gave the war-whoop's treble yell, 
That like a knell on fair hearts fell 
Far watching from their rocky home. 

" No nodding plumes or banners fair 
UnfurFd or fretted through the air ; 
No screaming fife or rolling drum 
Did challenge brave of soul to come : 
But, silent, sinew-bows were strung, 
And, sudden, heavy quivers hung. 
And, swiftly, to the battle sprung 
Tall painted braves with tufted hair, 
Like death-black banners in the air. 

" And long they fought, and firm and well ; 
And silent fought, and silent fell, 
Save when they gave the fearful yell 
Of death, defiance, or of hate. 
But what were feather'd flints to fate ? 
And what were yells to seething lead ? 
And what the few and feeble feet 
To troops that came with martial tread, 
And stood by wood and hill and stream 
As thick as people in a street. 
As strange as spirits in a dream ? 

" From pine and poplar, here and there, 
A cloud, a flash, a crash, a thud, 
A warrior's garments rolPd in blood, 
A yell that rent the mountain air 
Of fierce defiance and despair, 
Did tell who fell, and when and where. 
Then tighter drew the coils around, 



144 THE TALE OP THE 

And closer grew the battle-ground. 
And fewer feathered arrows fell. 
And fainter grew the battle yell, 
Until upon the hill was heard 
The short, sharp whistle of the bird. 

''*' The calm, that cometh after all, 
l>ook'd sweetly down at shut of day, 
Where friend and foe commingled lay 
Like leaves of forest as they iaXL 
Afar the sombre mountains frown'd. 
Here tall pines wheeFd their shadows round 
Like long, slim fingers of a hand 
That sadly pointed out the dead. 
Like some broad shield high overhead 
The great white moon led on and on, 
As leading to the better land. 
You might have heard the cricket's trill, 
Or night-birds calling from the hill. 
The place was so profoundly stilL 

" The mighty chief at last was down, 
The broken breast of brass and pride ! 

The hair all dust, the brow a-frown, J 

And proud mute lips compressed in hate 
To foes, yet all content with fate ; 
While, circled round him thick, the foe 
Had folded hands in dust, and died. 
His tomahawk lay at his side, 
All blood, beside his broken bow. 
One arm stretch'd out as over-bold. 
One hand half doubled hid in dust. 
And clutched the earth, as if to hold 
His hunting-grounds still in his trust. 

" Here tall grass bow'd its tassePd head 
In dewy tears above the dead, 



< 



TALL ALCALDE, 145 

And there they lay in crooked fern, 
That waved and wept above by turn ; 
And further on, by sombre trees, 
They lay, wild heroes of wildest deeds, 
In shrouds alone of weeping weeds. 
Bound in a never-to-be-broken peace. 

" Not one had faltered, not one brave 
Survived the fearful struggle, save 
One — save I the renegade, 
The red man's friend, and — they held me so 
For this alone — the white man's foe. 
And I sat bound, a stone on stone. 
And waked and watched alone ; alone 
I looked on all, asleep or dead : 
Watched dead and living undismayed 
Through gory hair with lifted head. 

" They bore me bound for many a day 
Through fen and wild, by foamy flood. 
From my dear mountains far away. 
Where an adob^ prison stood 
Besides a sultry, sullen town. 
With iron eyes and stony frown ; 
And in a dark and narrow cell. 
So hot it almost took my breath. 
And seem'd but an outpost of hell. 
They thrust me — ^as if I had been 
A monster, in a monster's den. 
I cried aloud, I courted death, 
I caird unto a strip of sky. 
The only thing beyond my cell 
That I could see ; but no reply 
Came but the echo of my breath. 
I paced — ^how long I cannot tell — 
My reason fail'd, I knew no more, 

19 



146 THE TALE OF THE 

And swooning fell upon the floor. 
Then months went on, till deep one night. 
When long thin bars of lunar light 
Laj shimmering along the floor, 
My senses came to me once mcH^e. 



" My eyes look'd full into her eyes — 
Into her soul so true and tried. 
I thought myself in paradise, 
And wondered when she too had died. 
And then I saw the stripM light 
That struggled past the prison bar. 
And in an instant, at the sight. 
My sinking soul fell just as far 
As could a star loosed by a jar 
From out the setting in the ring, 
The purpled, semi-circled ring 
That seems to circle us at night 

" She saw my senses had retum'd, 
Then swift to press my pallid face — 
Then, as if spum'd, she sudden tiuu'd 
Her sweet face to the prison wall ; 
Her bosom rose, her hot tears fell 
Fast, as drip moss-stones in a well, 
And then, as if subduing all 
In one strong struggle of the soul, 
Be what they were of vows or fears, 
With kisses and hot scalding tears. 
There in that deadly, loathsome place, 
She bathed my bleach'd and bloodless face. 

"I was so weak I could not speak 
Or press my pale lips to her cheek ; 
I only look'd my wish to share 
The secret of her presence there. 



TALL ALCALDE. 147 

Then looking through her falling hair, 

Still sadder — so that face appears, 

Seen through the tears and blood of years — 

Than Pocahontas bathed in tears, 

She pressed her finger to her lips. 

More sweet than sweets the brown bee sips. 

More sad than any grief untold, 

More silent than the milk-white moon, 

She tum'd away. I heard unfold 

An iron door, and she was gone. 

" At last, one midnight, I was free ; 
Again I felt the liquid air 
Around my hot brow like a sea, 
Sweet as my dear Madonna's prayer, 
Or benedictions on the soul ; 
Pure air, which God gives free to all, 
Again I breathed without control — 
Pure air, that man would fain enthral ; 
God's air, which man hath seized and sold 
Unto his fellow-man for gold. 

" I bow'd down to the bended sky, 
I toss'd my two thin hands on high, 
I caird unto the crooked moon, 
I shouted to the shining stars, 
With breath and rapture uncontrolled. 
Like some wild school-boy loosed at noon. 
Or comrade coming from the wars, 
Hailing his companeers of old. 

" Short time for shouting or delay — 
The cock is shrill, the east is gray. 
Pursuit is made, I must away. 
They cast me on a sinewy steed, 
And bid me look to girth and guide — 






,^g THE TALE OF THE 

A caution of but little need. 

For I on Sacramento's plain, 

When mounted warriors thunder'd by 

And train'd their barbs to face or fly, 

Once sprang upon the stoutest steed 

That swept unmaster'd through the band, 

Fierce and unbridled, wild and bare 

As fabled wing'd steed of the air. 

And, clutching to his tossing mane. 

Swept onward like a hurricane, 

And, guiding him with heel and hand, 

Lay like a shadow to his side, 

And hurVd the lance at topmost speed 

Beneath the arch'd neck of my steed. 

And pierced the cactus targe that stood 

An imaged foe against the wood, 

And heard the shouts of savage pride. 

I dash the iron in his side, 

Swift as the shooting stars I ride ; 

I turn, I see, to my dismay, 

A silent rider red as they ; 

I glance again — it is my bride, 

My love, my life, rides at my side. 

" By gulch and gorge and brake and all, 
Swift as the shining meteors fall. 
We fly, and never sound nor word 
But ringing mustang-hoofs is heard, 
And limbs of steel and lungs of steam 
Could not be stronger than theirs seem. 
Grandly as some joyous dream, 
League on league, and hour on hour, 
Far from keen pursuit, or power 
Of sheriff" or bailiff; high or low, 
Into the bristling hills we go. 






TALL ALCALDE, 149 

" Into the snowy-hair'd McCloud, 
White as the foldings of a shroud ; 
W^ dash into the dashing stream, 
We breast the tide, we drop the rein, 
We clutch the streaming, tangled mane — 
And yet the rider at my side 
Has never look nor word replied. 

" Out in its foam, its rush, its roar, 
Breasting away to the farther shore ; 
Steadily, bravely, gain'd at last, 
Gain'd, where never a dastard foe 
Has dared to come, or friend to go. 
Pursuit is baffled and danger passed. 

" Under an oak whose wide arms were 
Lifting aloft, as if in prayer. 
Under an oak, where the shining moon 
Like feathered snow in a winter noon 
Quivered, sifted, and drifted down 
In spars and bars on her shoulders brown : 
And yet she was as silent still 
As black stones toppled from the hill — 
Great basalt blocks that near us lay, 
Deep nestled in the grass untrod 
By aught save wild beasts of the wood — 
Great, massive, squared, and chisell'd stone. 
Like columns that had toppled down 
From temple dome or tower crown. 
Along some drifted, silent way 
Of desolate and desert town 
Built by the children of the sun. 
And I in silence sat on one. 
And she stood gazing far away 
To where her childhood forests lay. 
Still as the stone I sat upon. 



ISO THE TALE OF THE 

And through the leaves the silver moon 

Fell sifting down in silver bars 

And play'd upon her raven hair, 

And darted through like dimpled stars 

That dance through all the night's sweet noon 

To echoes of an unseen choir. 

" I sought to catch her to my breast 
And charm her from her silent mood ; 
She shrank as if a beam, a breath. 
Then silently before me stood. 
Still, coldly, as the kiss of death. 
Her face was darker than a pall. 
Her presence was so proudly tall, 
I would have started from the stone 
Where I sat gazing up at her. 
As from a form to earth unknown. 
Had I possessed the power to stir. 

" * O touch me not, no more, no more ; 
'Tis past, and my sweet dream is o'er. 
Impure ! Impure ! Impure !' she cried, 
In words as sweetly, weirdly wild 
As mingling of a rippled tide, 
And music on the waters spill'd. 
* Pollution foul is on my limbs. 
And poison lingers on my lips ; 
My red heart sickens, hot head swims, 
I bum unto my finger-tips. 
But you are free. Fly ! Fly alone. 
Yes, you will win another bride 
In some far clime where naught is known 
Of all that you have won or lost. 
Or what your life this night has cost ; 
Will win you name, and place, and power, 
And ne'er recall this face, this hour. 



i 



TALL ALCALDE. 151 

Save in some secret, deep regret, 

Which I forgive and you '11 forget 

Your destiny will lead you on 

Where, open'd wide to welcome you. 

Rich, gushing hearts and bosoms are, 

And snowy arms, more purely fair. 

And breasts — ^who dare say breasts more true 

When all this dear night's deeds are done ? 

" * They said you had deserted me. 
Had rued you of your wood and wild. 
I knew, I knew it could not be, 
I trusted as a trusting child. 
I cross'd the bristied mountain high 
That curves its rough back to the sky, 
I rode the white-maned mountain flood. 
And tracked for weeks the trackless wood. 
The good God led me, as before. 
And brought me to your prison-door. 

" * That madden'd call ! that fever'd moan ! 
I heard you in the midnight call 
My own name through the massive wall, 
In my sweet jnountain-tongue and tone — 
And yet you call'd so feebly wild, 
I near mistook you for a child. 
The keeper with his clinking keys 
I sought, implored upon my knees 
That I might see you, feel your breath, 
Your brow, or breathe you low replies 
Of comfort in your lonely death. 
His red face shone, his redder eyes 
Were like the fire of the skies. 
And all his face was as a fire. 
As he said, " Yield to my desire." 
Again I heard your feeble moan. 



r 
J 



i5« 



THE TALE OF THE 

I cried, " And must he die alone ? " 
I cried unto a heart of stone. 
Ah ! why the hateful horrors tell ? 
Enough ! I crept into your cell 
Polluted, loathed, a wretched thing, 
An ashen fruit, a poison'd spring. 

" * I nursed you, lured you back to life, 
And when you woke and called me wife 
And love, with pale lips rife 
With love and feeble loveliness, 
I tum'd away, I hid my face. 
In mad reproach and deep distress. 
In dust down in that loathsome place. 

" ' And then I vow'd a solemn vow 
That you should live, live and be free. 
And you have lived — are free ; and now 
Too slow yon red sun comes to see 
My life or death, or me again. 
Oh the peril and the pain 
I have endured ! the dark stain 
That I did take on my fair soul, 
All, all to save you, make you free, 
Are more than mortal can endure : 
But fire makes the foulest pure. 

" * Behold this finished funeral pyre. 
All ready for the form and fire, 
Which these, my own hands, did prepare 
For this last night \ then lay me there: 
I would not hide me from my God 
Beneath the cold and sullen sod, 
And ever from the circled sun, 
As if in shame for evil done, 
But, wrapped in fiery, shining shroud. 
Ascend to Him, a wreathing cloud.' 



V 



TALL ALCALDE. 153 

" She paused, she tum'd, she lean'd apace 
Her glance and half-regretting face, 
As if to yield herself to me ; 
And then she cried, * It cannot be, 
For I have vow'd a solemn vow, 
And God help me to keep it now 1 ' 

" I sprang with arms extended wide 
To catch her to my burning breast ; 
She caught a dagger from her side 
And plunged it to its silver hilt 
Into her hot and bursting heart, 
And fell into my arms and died — 
Died as my soul to hers was pressed. 
Died as I held her to my breast, 
Died without one word or moan. 
And left me with my dead — alone. 

" But why the dreary tale prolong ? 
And deem you I confessed me wrong. 
That I did bend a patient knee 
To all the deep wrongs done to me ? 
That I, because the prison-mould 
Was on my brow, and all its chill 
Was in my heart as chill as night. 
Till soul and body both were cold, 
Did curb my free-born mountain will ' 
And sacrifice my sense of right ? 

" No I no I and had they come that day 
While I with hands and garments red 
Stood by her pleading, gory clay, 
The one lone watcher by my dead, 
With cross-hilt dagger in my hand, 
The every white lord of the land 
Who wore a badge or claimed command, 

80 



I 



154 THE TALE OF THE 

And offer'd me my life and all 

Of titles, power, or of place, 

I should have spat them in the face, 

And spum'd them every one. 

I live as God gave me to live, 

I see as God gave me to see. 

Tis not my nature to forgive, 

Or cringe and plead, and bend the knee 

To God or man in woe or weal, 

In penitence I cannot feeL 

" I do not question school nor creed 
Of Christian, Protestant, or priest ; 
I only know that creeds to me 
Arc but new names for mystery. 
That God is good from east to east. 
And more I do not know nor need 
To know, to love my neighbour welL 
I take their dogmas, as they tell. 
Their pictures of their Godly good. 
In garments thick with heathen blood ; 
Their heaven with its harps of gold, 
Their horrid pictures of their hell. 
Take hell and heaven undenied. 
Yet were the two placed side by side, 
Placed full before me for my choice, 
As they are pictured, best and worst. 
As they are peopled, tame and bold, 
The canonized, and the accursed 
Who dared to think, and thinking speak, 
And speaking act, bold cheek to cheek, 
I would in transports choose the first, 
And enter hell with lifted voice. 

" I laid my dead upon the pile, 
And underneath the lisping oak 



r 



TALL ALCALDE. 155 

I watch'd the columns of dark smoke 
Embrace her red lips, with a smile 
Of frenzied fierceness. Then there came 
A gleaming column of red flame, 
That grew a grander monument 
Above her nameless noble mould, 
Than ever bronze or marble lent 
To king or conqueror of old. 

" It seized her in its hot embrace. 
And leapt as if to reach the stars. 
Then looking up I saw a face 
So saintly and so sweetly fair, 
So sad, so pitying, and so pure, 
I nigh forgot the prison bars. 
And for one instant, one alone, 
I felt I could forgive, endure. 

" I laid a circlet of white stone. 
And left her ashes there alone. 
But after many a white moon-wane 
I sought that sacred ground again. 
And saw the circle of white stone 
With tall wild grasses overgrown. 
I did expect, I know not why. 
From out her sacred dust to find 
Wild pinks and daisies blooming fair ; 
And when I did not find them there 
I almost deemed her God unkind. 
Less careful of her dust than I. 

" Then when the red shafts of the sun 
Came tipping down to where I stood, 
I haird them with a redder one, 
A lifted dagger red with blood. 
And voVd to dedicate my breath 
To vengeance, for disgrace and death. 



156 THE TALE OF THE 



" Go read the annals of the North, 
And records there of many a wail, 
Of marshalling and going forth 
For missing sheriffs, and for men 
Who fell, and none knew where or when,- 
Who disappeared on mountain trail. 
Or in some dense and narrow vale. 
Go, traverse Trinity and Scott, 
That curve their dark backs to the sun : 
Go, court them all. Lo ! have they not 
The chronicles of my wild life ? 
My secrets on their lips of stone. 
My archives built of human bone ? 
Go, cross their wilds as I have done, 
From snowy crest to sleeping vales. 
And you will find on every one 
Enough to swell a thousand tales. 



^ 



" The soul cannot survive alone. 
And hate will die, like other things ; j 

I felt an ebbing in my rage, 

I hungered for the sound of one, \ 

Just one familiar word, — 
Yearn'd but to hear my fellow speak. 
Or sound of woman's mellow tone. 
As beats the wild, imprisoned bird. 
That long nor kind nor mate has heaxd, 
With bleeding wings 
And panting beak 
Against its iron cage. 

" I saw a low-rool'd rancho He, 
Far, far below, at set of sun, 



TALL ALCALDE, 157 

Along the foot-hills crisp and dun — 
A lone sweet star in lower sky ; 
Saw children sporting to and fro, 
The busy housewife come and go, 
And white cows come at her command, 
And none looked larger than my hand. 
Then worn and torn, and tann'd and brown, 
And heedless all, I hastened down ; 
A wanderer wandering long and late, 
I stood before the rustic gate. 

" Two little girls, with brown feet bare. 
And tangled, tossing, yellow hair, 
Play'd on the green, fantastic dressed. 
Around a great Newfoundland brute 
That lay half-resting on his breast. 
And with his red mouth open'd wide 
Would make believe that he would bite. 
As they assail'd him left and right. 
And then sprang to the other side. 
And fiird with shouts the willing air. 
Oh sweeter far than lyre or lute 
To my then hot and thirsty heart. 
And better self so wholly mute. 
Were those sweet voices calling there. 

" Though some sweet scenes my eyes have seen, 
Some melody my soul has heard. 
No song of any maid, or bird. 
Or splendid wealth of tropic scene. 
Or scene or song of anywhere. 
Has my impulsive soul so stirr'd. 
Or touched and thrill'd my every part. 
Or fiird me with such sweet delight. 
As those young angels sporting there. 



IS8 THE TALE OF THE 

" The dog at sight of me arose, 
And nobly stood, with lifted nose, 
Afront the children, now so still, 
And staring at me with a will 

* Come in, come in,' the rancher cried. 
As here and there the house-wife hied ; 
*Sit down, sit down, you travel late. 
What news of politics or war ? 

And are you tired ? Go you far ? 

And where you from? Be quick, my Kate, 

This boy is sure in need of food.' 

The little children close by stood. 

And watch'd and gazed inquiringly, 

Then came and climb'd upon my knee. 

" * That there's my ma,' the eldest said, 
And laugh'd and toss'd her pretty head ; 
And then, half bating of her joy, 
' Have you a ma, you stranger boy ? — 
And there hangs Carlo on the wall 
As large as life ; that mother drew 
With berry stains upon a shred 
Of tattered tent ; but hardly you 
Would know the picture his at all, 
For Carlo's black, and this is red." 
Again she laughed, and shook her head, 
And showered curls all out of place ; 
Then sudden sad, she raised her face 
To mine, and tenderly she said, 

* Have you, like us, a pretty home ? 
Have you, like me, a dog and toy ? 
Where do you live, and whither roam ? 
And where's your pa, poor stranger boy ?' 

"It seem'd so sweetly out of place 
Again to meet my fellow-man, 



TALL ALCALDE. 159 

I gazed and gazed upon his face 

As something I had never seen. 

The melody of woman's voice 

Fell on my ear as falls the rain 

Upon the weary, waiting plain. 

I heard, and drank and drank again, 

As earth with crack'd lips drinks the rain, 

In green to revel and rejoice. 

I ate with thanks my frugal food, 

The first returned for many a day. 

I had met kindness by the way ! 

I had at last encountered good ! 

" I sought my couch, but not to sleep ; 
New thoughts were coursing strong and deep 
My wild impulsive passion-heart ; 
I could not rest, my heart was moved. 
My iron will forgot its part. 
And I wept like a child reproved. 
Never was Christian more devout, 
Never was lowlier heart than mine. 
Never has pious Moslem yet. 
When bearded Muezzin's holy shout 
Has echoed afar from minaret, 
Knelt lowlier down to saint or shrine. 
Than knelt that penitent soul of mine. 

" I lay and pictured me a life 
Afar from cold reproach or stain. 
Or annals dark of blood and strife, 
From deadly perils or heart-pain ; 
And at the breaking of the mom 
I swung my arms from off the horn. 
And turned to other scenes and lands 
With lightened heart and whitened hands. 



i6o THE TALE OF THE TALL ALCALDE. 

" AVhere orange-blossoms never die, 
AVTiere red fruits ripen all the year 
Beneath a sweet and balmy sky. 
Far from my language or my land. 
Reproach, regret, or shame or fear, 
I came in hope, I wandered here — 
Yes, here ; and this red, bony hand 
That holds this glass of ruddy cheer — " 

" Tis he ! " hissed the crafty advocate. 
He sprang to his feet, and hot with hate 
He reached hb hands, and he called aloud, 
" 'Tis the renegade of the red McCloud ! " 

Then slow the Alcalde rose and spoke, 
And the lightning flash'd from a cloud of hair, 
" Hand me, touch me, him who dare ! " 
And his heavy glass on the board of oak 
He smote with such savage and mighty stroke, 
It ground to dust in his bony hand, 
And heavy bottles did clink and tip 
As if an earthquake were in the land. 
He tower'd up, and in his ire 
Seem'd taller than any church's spire. 
He gazed a moment — and then, the while 
An icy cold and defiant smile 
Did curve his thin and his livid lip, 
He tum'd on his heel, he strode through the hall 
Grand as a god, so grandly tall, 
And white and cold as a chiselFd stone. 
He pass'd him out the adobe door 
Into the night, and he passed alone, 
And never was known nor heard of more. 



KIT CARSON'S RIDE. 



21 



Room I Room to turn round in^ to breathe and be free^ 

And to grow to be giant ^ to sail as at sea 

With the speed of the wind on a steed with his mane 

To the windy without pathway or route or a rein. 

Room ! Room to be free where the white-bordered sea 

Blows a kiss to a brother as boundless as he ; 

And to east and to west, to the north and the sun^ 

Blue skies and brown grasses are welded as one^ 

And the buffalo come like a cloud on the plainy 

Pouring on like the tide of a storm-driven main. 

And the lodge of the hunter to friend or to foe 

Offers rest ; and unquestioned you come or you go. 

My plains of America ! Seas of wild lands ! 

From a land in the seas in a raiment of foam, i 

That has reached to a stranger the welcome of home, 

I turn to you, lean to you, lift you my hands. i 

London, 1871. 



J 



i 



x] 



^ 



KIT CARSON'S RIDE. 

" 11 UN ? Now you bet you ; I rather guess so ! 

-Ll' But he's blind as a badger. Whoa, Pach6, boy, whoa. 
No, you wouldn't believe it to look at his eyes. 
But he is, badger blind, and it happened this wise. 

" We lay in the grasses and the sun-burnt clover 
That spread on the ground like a great brown cover 
Northward and southward, and west and away 
To the Brazos, to where our lodges lay. 
One broad and unbroken sea of brown. 
Awaiting the curtains of night to come down 
To cover us over and conceal our flight 
With my brown bride, won from an' Indian town 
That lay in the rear the full ride of a night. 

" We lounged in the grasses — her eyes were in mine. 
And her hands on my knee, and her hair was as wine 
In its wealth and its flood, pouring on and all over 
Her bosom wine-red, and pressed never by one ; 
And her touch was as warm as the tinge of the clover 
Burnt brown as it reached to the kiss of the sun. 
And her words were as low as the lute-throated dove, 
And as laden with love as the heart when it beats 
In its hot eager answer to earliest love, 
Or the bee hurried home by its burthen of sweets. 

" We lay low in the grass on the broad plain levels, 
Old Revels and I, and my stolen brown bride ; 
And the heavens of blue and the harvest of brown 
And beautiful clover were welded as one, 



1 64 KIT CARSON'S RIDE. 

To the right and the left, in the light of the sun. 

' Forty full miles if a foot to ride, 

Forty full miles if a foot, and the devils 

Of red Camanches are hot on the track 

When once they strike it Let the sun go down 

Soon, very soon,' muttered bearded old Revels 

As he peered at the sun, lying low on his back. 

Holding fast to his lasso. Then he jerked at his steed 

And he sprang to his feet, and glanced swiftly around. 

And then dropped, as if shot, with his ear to the ground • 

Then again to his feet, and to me, to my bride. 

While his eyes were like fire, his face like a shroud, 

His form like a king, and his beard like a cloud. 

And his voice loud and shrill, as if blown from a reed, — 

* Pull, pull in your lassos, and bridle to steed. 

And speed you if ever for life you would speed. 

And ride for your lives, for your lives you must ride ! 

For the plain is aflame, the prairie on fire, 

And feet of wild horses hard flying before | 

I hear like a sea breaking high on the shore. 

While the buffalo come like a surge of the sea. 

Driven far by the flame, driving fast on us three ^ 

As a hurricane comes, crushing palms in his ire.* i 

" We drew in the lassos, seized saddle and rein, i 

Threw them on, sinched them on, sinched them over again, ' 

And again drew the girth, cast aside the macheers, 
Cut away tapidaros, loosed the sash from its fold. 
Cast aside the catenas red-spangled with gold, 
And gold-mounted Colt's, the companions of years, 
Cast the silken serapes to the wind in a breath. 
And so bared to the skin sprang all haste to the horse — 
As bare as when bom, as when new from the hand 
Of God — without word, or one word of command. 

Turned head to the Brazos in a red race with death, j 

Turned head to the Brazos with a breath in the hair « 



4 

i 



KIT CARSON'S RIDE. 165 

Blowing hot from a king leaving death in his course ; 
Turned head to the Brazos with a sound in the air 
Like the rush of an army, and a flash in the eye 
Of a red wall of fire reaching up to the sky, 
Stretching fierce in pursuit of a black rolling sea 
Rushing fast upon us, as the wind sweeping free 
And afar from the desert blew hollow and hoarse. 

• 

" Not a word, not a wail from a lip was let fall. 
Not a kiss from my bride, not a look nor low call 
Of love-note or courage ; but on o'er the plain 
So steady and still, leaning low to the mane. 
With the heel to the flank and the hand to the rein, 
Rode we on, rode we three, rode we nose and gray nose, 
Reaching long, breathing loud, as a creviced wind blows : 
Yet we broke not a whisper, we breathed not a prayer. 
There was work to be done, there was death in the air, 
And the chance was as one to a thousand for all. 

" Gray nose to gray nose, and each steady mustang 
Stretched neck and stretched nerve till the arid earth rang. 
And the foam from the flank and the croup and the neck 
Flew around like the spray on a storm-driven deck. 
Twenty miles ! . . . thirty miles ! . . . a dim distant speck . . . 
Then a long reaching line, and the Brazos in sight, 
And I rose in my seat with a shout of delight. 
I stood in my stirrup and looked to my right — 
But Revels was gone ; I glanced by my shoulder 
And saw his horse stagger ; I saw his head drooping 
Hard down on his breast, and his naked breast stooping 
Low down to the mane, as so swifter and bolder 
Ran reaching out for us the red-footed fire. 
To right and to left the black bufialo came, 
A terrible surf on a red sea of flame 
Rushing on in the rear, reaching high, reaching higher. 
And he rode neck to neck to a buffalo bull, 



1 66 KIT CARSOM'S RIDE. 

The monarch of millions, with shaggy mane full 

Of smoke and of dust, and it shook with desire 

Of batde, with rage and with bellowings loud 

And unearthly, and up through its lowering cloud 

Came the flash of his eyes like a half-hidden fire, 

While his keen crooked horns, through the storm of his mane, 

Like black lances lifted and hfted again ; 

And I looked but this once, for the fire licked through, 

And he fell and was lost, as we rode two and two. 

" I looked to my left then — ^and nose, neck and shoulder 
Sank slowly, sank surely, till back to my thighs ; 
And up through the black blowing veil of her hair 
Did beam full in mine her two marvellous eyes, 
With a longing and love, yet a look of despair 
And of pity for me, as she felt the smoke fold her, 
And flames reaching far for her glorious hair. 
Her sinking steed faltered, his eager ears fell 
To aiid fro and unsteady, and all the neck's swell 
Did subside and recede, and the nerves fall as dead. 
Then she saw sturdy Pach6 still lorded his head, 
With a look of delight ; for nor courage nor bribe, 
Nor naught but my bride, could have brought him to me. 
For he was her father's, and at South Santafee 
Had once won a whole herd, sweeping everything down 
In a race where the world came to run for the crown. 
And so when I won the true heart of my bride — 
My neighbor's and deadliest enemy's child, 
And child of the kingly war-chief of his tribe — 
She brought me this steed to the border the night 
She met Revels and me in her perilous flight 
From the lodge of the chief to the North Brazos side ; 
And said, so half guessing of ill as she smiled. 
As if jesting, that I, and I only, should ride 
The fleet-footed Pach^, so if kin should pursue 
I should surely escape >vithout other ado 



Kit C ARSON'S RIDE, 167 

Than to ride, without blood, to the North Brazos side, 
And await her — and wait till the next hollow moon 
Hunj her horn in the palms, when surely and soon 
And swift she would join me, and all would be well 
Without bloodshed or word. And now as she fell 
From the front, and went down in the ocean of fire, 
The last that I saw was a look of delight 
That I should escape — 2. love — z. desire — 
Yet never a word, not one look of appeal, 
Lest I should reach hand, should stay hand or stay heel 
One instant for her in my terrible flight. 

" Then the rushing of fire around me and under, 
And a howling of beasts and a sound as of thunder — 
Beasts burning and blind and forced onward and over. 
As the passionate flame reached around them, and wove her 
Red hands in their hair, and kissed hot till they died — 
Till they died with a wild and a desolate moan. 
As a sea heart-broken on the hard brown stone . . . 
And into the Brazos ... I rode all alone — 
All alone, save only a horse long-limbed. 
And blind and bare and burnt to the skin. 
Then just as the terrible sea came in 
And tumbled its thousands hot into the tide, 
Till the tide blocked up and the swift stream brimmed 
In eddies, we struck on the opposite side. 



"SellPach6 — ^blind Pach6 ? Now, mister, look here. 
You have slept in my tent and partook of my cheer 
Many days, many days, on this rugged frontier. 
For the ways they were rough and Camanches were near ; 
But, you'd better pack up, sir ! That tent is too small 
For us two after this ! Has an old mountaineer. 
Do you book-men believe, got no tum-tum at all? 



K:7 CAJt.'CXS RIDE. 



>c-I 


rWTjr 


Y:.i 




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A ba^ riZ 


of gold: 


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:jLTe tdd ! 


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^ and is old ! 


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r^ipa 


:5^ irA zet : 


.p and spin 


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. BL2SC T<xi and your tin ! 



I 



BURNS AND BYRON. 



3a 



Ayb, 1870. 



Eld Druid oaks of Ayr ! 
Fraepts! Potnu! Pages! 
Lessons ! Leaz'es, and I'olumes ! 
Arches ! Pillars ! Columns 
In corridors of ages ! 
Graful PcUriarchal sages 
Lifting palms in prayer I 

The Drttid beards are drifting 
And shifting to and fro. 
In gentle breezes liftings 
That bat -like come and go, 
Tlu while the moon is shifting 
A sheen of shining snow 
On all these blossoms lifting 
Tlieir blue eyes from below. 

No, Uis not phantoms walking 
That you hear rustling there. 
But bearded Druids talking. 
And turning leaves in prayer. 
No, not a night-bird singing. 
Nor breeze the broad bough swinging. 
But that bough holds a censer. 
And swings it to afid fro, 
^Tis Sunday eve remember, 
ThcU^s why they chant so low. 



\ 



I 
4 

1 



I 



f 



BURNS AND BYRON. 

NOTE. 

The day before my departure for Europe last summer, a small party sailed out to the 
beautiful sea-front of Sauc^lito, lying in the great Bay of San Francisco, forever 
green in its crown of California laurel ; and there the fiUrest hands of the youngest and 
fairest city of the New World wove a wreath of bay for the tomb of Byron. I brought 
it over the Rocky Mountains, and the seas, and placed it above the dust of the soldier- 
poet, as desired. The wreath hangs now on the darlc and dusty wall of the church at 
HucknaJl Tokard above the tattered coat-of ■ arms of the Byrons, and the small stained 
tablet placed there by the Poet's sister. 

Having come directly from Dumfries, I am bound to say that the contrast between 
the tombs of the two immortal poets was at least remarkable. 

But in my pilgrimage to places sacred to the memory of Bums, I found none equal 
in interest to Ayr, the Doon, and their environs ; perhaps it was because these places 
witnessed his birth, and his hard life's battles. 

I LINGER in the autumn noon, 
I listen to the partridge call, 
I watch the yellow leaflets fall 
And drift adown the dimpled Doon. 
I lean me o'er the ivy-grown 
Old brig, where Vandal tourists' tools 
Have ribb'd out names that would be known, 
Are known — ^known as a herd of fools. 

Down Ailsa Craig the sun declines, 

With lances levelFd here and there — 
The tinted thorns 1 the trailing vines ! 

braes of Doon ! so fond, so fair ! 
So passing fair, so more than fond ! 
The Poef s place of birth beyond, 

Beyond the mellow bells of Ayr ! 

1 hear the milk-maid's twilight song 
Come bravely through the storm-bent oaks ; 



172 BURNS AND BYRON. 



Beyond, the white surfs sullen strokes _ 

Beat in a chorus deep and strong ; 
I hear the sounding forge afar, 
And rush and rumble of the car, * 

The steady tinkle of the bell 
Of lazy, laden, home-bound cows 
That stop to bellow and to browse ; < 

I breathe the soft sea-wind as well, 
And now would fain arouse, arise ; 
I count the red lights in the skies ; 

I yield as to a fairy spell. 

Heard ye the feet of flying horse ? 
Heard ye the bogles in the air 
That clutch at Tam 0'Shanter*s mare, 1 

That flies this mossy brig across ? \ 

O Bums ! where bid ? where bide you now ? / 

Where are you in this night's full moon. 
Great master of the pen and plough ? 
Might you not on yon slanting beam 

Of moonlight, kneeling to the Doon, i 

Descend once to this hallowed stream ! ( 

Sure yon stars yield enough of light 
For heaven to spare your face one night. ^ 

Burns ! another name for song. 

Another name for passion — pride ; v 

For love and poesy allied ; 

For strangely blended right and wrong. 

1 picture you as one who kneeFd 
A stranger at his own hearthstone ; 

One knowing all, yet all unknown, \ 

One seeinj all, yet all conceal'd ; I 

The fitful years you lingered here, 



i 



B UBNS AND B YRON. 1 73 

A lease of peril and of pain ; 

And I am thankful yet again 

The gods did love you, ploughman ! peer 1 

In all your own and other lands, 
I hear your touching songs of cheer ; 
The peasant and the lordly peer 
Above your honored dust strike hands. 

A touch of tenderness is shown 
In this unselfish love of Ayr, 
And it is well, you earn'd it fair ; 
For all unhelmeted, alone, ♦ 

You proved a ploughman's honest claim 
To battle in the lists of fame ; 
You eam'd it as a warrior earns 
His laurels fighting for his land. 
And died — ^it was your right to go. 
O eloquence of silent woe ! 
The Master leaning reached a hand. 
And whispered, " It is finished, Burns !'* 

O sad, sweet singer of a Spring ! 
Yours was a chill uncheerful May, 
And you knew no full days of June ; 
You ran too swiftly up the way. 
And wearied soon, so over-soon ! 
You sang in weariness and woe : 
You faltered, and God heard you sing, 
Then touched your hand and led you so. 
You found life's hill-top low, so low. 
You cross'd its sitmmit long ere noon. 
Thus sooner than one would suppose 
Some weary feet will find repose. 



1 74 B URNS AND B YRON. 

O cold and cruel Nottingham ! 
In disappointment and in tears, 
Sad, lost, and lonely, here I am 
To question, " Is this Nottingham, 
Of which I dream'd for years and years ? " 
I seek in vain for name or sign 

Of him who made this mould a shrine, ^ 

A Mecca to the fair and fond 
Beyond the seas, and still beyond. 

Where white clouds crush their drooping wings 
Against the snow-crown'd battlements. 
And peaks that flash like silver tents ; 
Where Sacramento's fountain springs, 
And proud Columbia frets his shore 

Of sombre, boundless wood and wold, v 

And lifts his yellow sands of gold ' 

In plaintive murmurs evermore ; 

Where snowy dimpled Tahoe smiles, > 

And where white breakers from the sea. 
In solid phalanx knee to knee, 
Surround the calm Pacific Isles, 

Then run and reach unto the land i. 

And spread their thin hands on the sand, — I 

Is he supreme — there understood : 

The free can understand the free, ^ 

I 

The brave and good the brave and good. 

Yea, he did sin ; who hath reveal'd ^ 

That he was more than man, or less ? 
Yet sinn'd no more, but less concealed 
Than they who cloak'd their follies o'er, 
And then cast stones in his distress. 
He scom'd to make the good seem more, 

Or make the bitter sin seem less. ^ 

And so his very manliness 
The seeds of persecution bore. 



\ 



BURNS AND BYRON. 175 

When all his fervid wayward love 
Brought back no olive-branch or dove, 
Or love or trust from any one, 
Proud, all unpitied and alone 
He lived to make himself unknown. 
Disdaining love and yielding none. 
Like some high-lifted sea-girt stone 
That could not stoop, but all the days, 
With proud brow turning to the breeze, 
Felt seas blown from the south, and seas 
Blown from the north, and many ways, 
He stood — ^a solitary light 
In stormy seas and settled night — 
Then fell, but stirr'd the seas as far 
As winds and waves and waters are. 

The meek-eyed stars are cold and white 
And steady, fix'd for all the years ; 
The comet burns the wings of night. 
And dazzles elements and spheres. 
Then dies in beauty and a blaze 
Of light, blown far through other days. 

The poet's passion, sense of pride, 
His sentiment, the wooing throng 
Of sweet temptations that betide 
The wild 3iid wayward child of song. 
The world knows not : I lift a hand 
To ye who know, who understand. 

In men whom men condemn as ill 
I find so much of goodness still. 
In men whom men pronounce divine 
I find so much of sin and blot, 
I hesitate to draw a line 
Between the two, where God has not. 



* 



r 
i 



,^6 BURNS AND BYRON. 

In sad but beautiful decay 
Gray Hucknall kneels into the dust, 
And, cherishing her sacred trust, 
Does blend her clay with lordly clay. 

The ancient Abbe/s breast is broad, 
And stout her massive walls of stone ; 
But let him lie, repose alone 
Ungather'd with the great of God, 
In dust, by his fierce fellow-man. 
Some one, some day, loud-voiced will speak 
And say the broad breast was not broad. 
The walls of stone were all too weak 
To hold the proud dust, in their plan ; 
The hollow of God's great right hand 
Receives it ; let it rest with God. 

No sign or cryptic stone or cross 
Unto the passing world has said, 
*• He died, and we deplore his loss." 
No sound of sandall'd pilgrim's tread 
Disturbs the pilgrim's peaceful rest. 
Or frets the proud impatient breast. 
The bat flits through the broken pane. 
The black swift swallow gathers moss, 
And builds in peace above his head, 
Then goes, then comes, and builds agam. 
And it is well ; not otherwise 
Would he, the grand sad singer, will. 
The serene peace of paradise 
He sought — 'tis his — the storm is still. 
Secure in his eternal fame. 
And blended pity and respect, 
He does not feel the cold neglect, 
And England does not fear the shame. 

Nottingham, 1870. 



MYRRH. 



23 



J 

Li/e tiiejiM no dead so beautiful ■ 

As is tki -aihiU cold coffi'fd fast; 

This I may lett nor bt bdi-a^d : 

The dead are/aHh/id to the last. ~ 

J am not spouseless — IJiave vitd 1 

A nieniery—a life thafi dead. \ 



MYRRH. 

TpAREWELL ! for here the ways at last 
-L Divide — diverge, like delta'd Nile, 
Which after desert dangers pass'd 
Of many and many a thousand mile, 
As constant as a column stone. 
Seeks out the sea, divorced — alone. 



And you and I have buried Love, 
A red seal on' the coffin's lid ; 
The clerk below, the Court above, 
Pronounced it dead : the corpse is hid. 
And I who never crossed your will 
Consent . . . that you may have it still. 

Farewell ! a sad word easy said 
And easy sung, I think, by some . . . 
... I clutched my hands, I turned my head 
In my endeavor, and was dumb ; 
And when I should have said, Farewell, 
I only murmur'd, " This is hell." 

What recks it now whose was the blame ? 
But call it mine ; for better used 
Am I to wrong and cold disdain. 
Can better bear to be accused 
Of all that wears the shape of shame. 
Than have you bear one touch of blame. 

I know yours was the lighter heart. 
And yours the hope of grander meed ; 



i8o MYRRH. 

Yet did I falter in my part ? 

But there is weakness in defeat, 

And I had felt its iron stride 

^\^lile your young feet were yet untried. 

I set my face for power and place, 
My soul is toned to suUenness, 
My heart holds not one sign or trace 
Of love, or trust, or tenderness. 
But you — your years of happiness 
God knows I would not make them less. 

And yet it were a bootless strife ; 
Too soon and sudden up the way 
I hurried in the spring of life. 
And wearied ere the noon of day. 
I did not reach — ^was it a crime 
That my life knew no summer-time ? 

And you will come some summer eve, 
When wheels the white moon on her track, 
And hear the plaintive night-bird grieve, 
And heed the crickets clad in black ; 
Alone — not far — a little spell, 
And say, " Well, yes, he loved me well;" 

And sigh, " Well, yes, I mind me now. 
None were so bravely true as he ; 
And yet his love was tame somehow. 
It was so truly true to me ; 
I wish his patient love had less 
Of worship and of tenderness : 

" I wish it still, for thus alone 
There comes a keen reproach of pain, 
A feeling I dislike to own ; 
Half yearnings for his voice again. 










MYRRH. i8i 



Half longings for his earnest gaze, 
To know him mine always — always." 



*.h 



I make no murmur : steady, calm. 
Sphinx-like I gaze on days ahead. 
No wooing word, no pressing palm. 
No sealing love with lips seal-red. 
No waiting for some dusk or dawn. 
One sacred hour ... all are gone. 

I go alone : no little hands 
To lead me from forbidden ways. 
No little voice in other lands 
Shall cheer through all the weary days ; 

Yet these are yours, and that to me 
Is much indeed ... So let it be .. . 

... A last look from my mountain wall . . 
I watch the red sun wed the sea 
Beside your home . . . the tides will fall 
And rise, but never more shall we 
Stand hand in hand and watch them flow, 
As we once stood . . . Christ ! this is so ! 

But, when the stately sea comes in 
With measured tread and mouth afoam, 
My darlings cry above the din, 
And ask, " Has father yet come home?'* 
Then look into the peaceful sky. 
And answer, gently, " By and by." 

***** 

One deep spring in a desert sand. 
One mossed and mystic pyramid, 
A lonely palm on either hand, 
A fountain in a forest hid, 



i82 MYRRH. 

Are all my life has realized 
Of all I cherish'd, all I prized : 

Of all I dream'd in early youth 
Of love by streams and love-lit ways, 
While my heart held its type of tnith 
Through all the tropic golden days, 
And I the oak, and you the vine, . 
Clung palm in palm through cloud or shine. 

Some time when clouds hang overhead, 
(What weary skies without one cloud !) 
You may muse on this love that's dead, 
Muse calm when not so young or proud. 
And say, " At last it comes to me. 
That none were ever true as he." 

My sin was that I loved so much — 
But I enlisted for the war. 
Till we the deep-sea shore should touch. 
Beyond Atlanta — near or far — 
And truer soldier never yet 
Bore shining sword or bayonet. 

I did not blame you — do not blame. 
The stormy elements of soul 
That I did scorn to tone or tame, 
Or bind down unto dull control 
In full fierce youth, they all are yours, 
With all their folly and their force. 

God keep you pure, oh, very pure, 

God give you grace to dare and do ; 
God give you courage to endure 

The all He may demand of you, 

Keep time-frosts from your raven hair. 

And your young heart without a care. 



MYRRH, 183 

I make no murraer nor complain ; 
Above me are the stars and blue 
Alluring far to grand refrain ; 
Before, the beautiful and true, 
To love or hate, to win or lose ; 
Lo ! I will now arise, and choose. 

But should you sometime read a sign, 
A name among the princely few, 
In isles of song beyond the brine, 
Then you will think a time, and you 
Will turn and say, "He once was mine. 
Was all my own ; his smiles, his tears 
Were mine — were mine for years and years. 

Blue Mountains y Oregon, 1870. 



f 



EVEN SO. 



V 






24 

I 

I 

I 



Sierras f and eternal tents 
Of snow that flash o^er battlements 
Of mountains ! My land of the sun. 
Am J not true f have I not done 
All things for thine, for thee alone, 
sun-land, sea-land, thou mine own ? 
From other loves and other lands. 
As true pet haps, as strong of hands. 
Have I not turned to thee and thine, 
O sun-land oj the palm and pine, 
And sung thy scenes, surpassing skies. 
Till Europe lifted up her face 
And marvelled at thy matchless grace, 
With eager and inquiring eyes ? 
Be my reward some little place 
To pitch my tent, some tree and vine. 
And dream, or sing some songs of thee ; 
Or days to climb to Shasta! s dome 
Again, and be with gods at home. 
Salute my mountains, ^-clouded Hood, 
Saint Helens in its sea of wood, — 
Where sweeps the Oregon, and where 
White storms are in the feathered fir. 



Athens, 187O. 



/ 






EVEN SO. 

SHE was not full tall, was not fairer than others, 
But there was in her eyes, so proud and glorious, 
A dream, a wonder, a dangerous witchery ; 
And when into yours they did look steadfastly 
With a longing and trust as if asking sympathy. 
As in talk, low-voiced, with your soul in confidence. 
While her rich full lips, red-pouting and luscious, 
Kept forth sweet-blended their mirth and sentiment, 
A battery sheltered by a brown flood of tresses. 
That lay or lifted in the warm winds fretted 
About a brow of most marvellous beauty — 
You were less of a man than I should desire 
To know much of, to have been unmoved. 

Where pine-tops toss curly clouds to heaven 
And shake them far like to downs of thistle. 
In a rift of canon cleft so asunder 
That it seem'd as 'twere earth's lips half open'd 
Where men wrought gold from the rock-ribb'd mountain, 
She patient abode with her faithful mother. 
And brawny giants, men brown'd and bearded, 
Did bless the brown earth as she walked upon it. 
And call her more pure than their yellow gold treasures. 

By the trails sometimes that wound round the mountain 
Above brave men toiling long at the sluices, 
The cheery girl passing would kind and playful 
Call to them all kind words of encouragement. 
Then awake the echoes of the frowning mountains 
With gushing laugh at their honest answers, 



\ 
i 



i88 EVEN SO. 

And pass them on in a blaze of glory. 

They, blessing her heart, would then put from them 

Their coarser thoughts, and, bent to the boulders, 

Would recall fair faces far over the water. 

And be, for her, the happier and better 

For many and many a day thereafter. 

In the shadows a-west of the sunset mountains, 
Where old-time giants had dwelt and peopled. 
And built up cities and castled battlements, 
And rear'd up pillars that pierced the heavens, 
A poet dwelt, of the book of Nature — 
An ardent lover of the pure and beautiful, 
Devoutest lover of the true and beautiful, 
Profoundest lover of the grand and beautiful — 
With a heart all impulse, intensest passion. 
Who believed in love as in God Eternal — 
A dream while the waken'd world went over. 
An Indian summer of the sullen seasons ; 
And he sang wild songs like the wind in cedars, 
Was tempest-toss'd as the pines, yet ever 
As fix*d in truth as they in the mountains. 

He had heard her name as one hears of a princess. 
Her glory had come unto him in stories ; 
From afar he had look'd as entranced upon her ; 
He gave her name to the wind in measures. 
And he heard her name in the deep-voiced cedars. 
And afar in the winds rolling on like the billows. 
Her name in the name of another for ever 
Gave all his numbers their grandest strophes ; 
He enshrined her image in his heart's high temple, 
And saint-like held her, too sacred for mortal. 



He came to fall like a king of the forest 
Caught in the strong stormy arms of the wrestler ; 



EVEN so. 189 

Forgetting his songs, his crags and his mountains, 

And nearly his God, in his wild deep passion ; 

And when he had won her and turned him homeward, 

With the holiest pledges love gives its lover, * 

The mountain route was as strewn with roses. 

Can a high love then be a thing unholy, 

To make us better and blessed supremely ? 

The day was fix'd for the feast and nuptials ; 

He craz'd with impatience at the tardy hours ; 

He flew in the face of old Time as a tyrant : 

He had fought the days that stood still between them. 

One by one, as you fight with a foeman, 

Had they been animate and sensate beings. 

At last then the hour came coldly forward. 
When Mars was trailing his lance on the mountains 
He rein'd his steed and look'd down in the canon 
To where she dwelt, with a heart of fire ; 
He kiss'd his hand to the smoke slow curling, 
Then bowed his head in devoutest blessing. 
His spotted courser did plunge and fret him 
Beneath his gay and silk-fringed carona, 
And toss his neck in a black mane bannered ; 
Then all afoam, plunging iron-footed, 
Dash'd him adown with a wild impatience. 

A coldness met him, like the breath of a cavern. 
As he joyously hastened across the threshold. 
She came, and coldly she spoke and scornful, 
In answer to warm and impulsive passion. 
All things did array them in shades most hateful. 
And life did seem but a jest intolerable. 
He dared to question her why this estrangement : 
She spoke with a strange and stiff indifference. 
And bade him go on all alone life's journey. 



/ 



190 EVEN SO. 

Stem then and tall he did stand up before her, 
And gaze dark-brow'd through the low narrow casement 
For a time, as if waning in thought with a passion ; 
Then, crushing hard down the hot welling bitterness, 
He folded his form in a sullen silentness 
And tum'd for ever away from her presence : 
Bearing his sorrow like some great burden, 
Like a black night-mare in his hot heart mufRed ; 
With his faith in the truth of woman all shatter'd 
Like the shell of the cocoa dash'd to pieces 
On the stones below from its stately bower. 
He heard a laughter as if in mockery. 
And, vaulting his saddle, he did take his journey 
'ihrough the densest wood by the darkest windings. 
As the things best fitting his fate and humor. 
And hurl'd a curse back over his shoulder. 
Another had woo'd her, one gay, of earth earthy, 
Another had won her, a gay dashing soldier — 
With gold epaulets and a uniform polish'd, 
With sword and red sash, and a tongue swift and ready 
With loud talk of battles, of fine deeds of daring, 
That wins so most ivilling the ear of all women. 
He did win this jewel from the lordly mountain, 
Of its wealth never counting, its worth never dreaming, 
In truth not possessing one sense so accomplished 
He could know its value had it all been told him. 



'Mid Theban pillars, where sang the Pindar,, ■ 
Breathing the breath of the Grecian islands, 

Breathing in spices and olive and myrtle, 

Counting the caravans, curl'd and snowy, 

Slow journeying over his head to Mecca 

Or the high Christ-land of most holy memory, 

Counting the clouds through the boughs above him. 

That brush'd white marbles that time had chisell'd 



EVEN SO. 191 

And reared as tombs on the great dead city, 
Lettered with solemn but unread moral — 
A poet rested in the red-hot summer. 
He took no note of the things about him, 
But dream'd and counted the clouds above him ; 
His soul was troubled, and his sad heart's Mecca 
Was a miner's home far over the ocean, 
Banner'd by pines that did brush the heavens. 

When the sun went down on the bronzed Morea, 
He read to himself from the lines of sorrow 
That came as a wail from the one he worshipped. 
Sent over the seas by an old companion : 
They spoke no word of him, or remembrance. 
And he was sad, for he felt forgotten, 
And said : "In the leaves of her fair heart's album 
She has cover'd my face with the face of another. 
Let the great sea lift like a wall between us, 
High-back'd, with his mane of white storms for ever — 
I shall learn to love, I shall wed my sorrow, 
I shall take as a spouse the days that are perish'd ; 
I shall dwell in a land where the march of genius 
Made tracks in marble in the days of giants ; 
I shall sit in the ruins where sat the Marius, 
Gray with the ghosts of the great departed." 
And then he said in the solemn twilight . . . 

" Strangely wooing are the worlds above uis, 
Strangely beautiful is the Faith of Islam, 
Strangely sweet are the songs of Solomon, 
Strangely tender are the teachings of Jesus, 
Strangely cold is the sun on the mountains. 
Strangely mellow is the moon in old ruins, 
Strangely pleasant are the stolen waters. 
Strangely simple and unwooing is virtue, 
Strangely lighted is the North night-region, 



•\ 



f 



■93 EVEN SO. 

Strangely strong are the streams in the ocean. 
Strangely true are the tales of the Orient, 
Strangely winnbg is a dark-eyed nidow, 
Strangely wayward are the ways of lovers, 
But stranger than all are the ways of women." 

His head on his hands and his hands on the marble, 
Alone in the moonlight he slept in the ruins ; 
And a form was before him white-mantled in moonlight, 
And bitter he said to the one he had worshipped : — 

" Yavx hands in mine, your face, your eyes 
IxKtk level into mine, and mine 
Are not abashed in anywise. 
As eyes were in an elder syne. 
Perhaps the pulse is colder now. 
And blood comes tamer to the brow 
Because of hot blood long ago . . . 
Withdraw your hand ? . . ■ Well, be it so. 
And turn your bent head slow sidewise, 
For recollections are as seas 
That come and go in tides, and these 
Are flood-tides filling to the eyes. 

" How strange that you above the vale 
And I below the mountain wall 
Should walk and meet ! , , . Why, you are pale ! , . . 
Strange meeting on the mountain fringe ! . . . 
. . . More strange we ever met at all ! . . . 
Tides come and go, we know their time ; 
The moon, we know her wane or prime : 
But who knows how the fates may hinge ? 

" You stand before me here to-night, 
But not beside me, not beside — 
Are beautiful, but not a bride. 
Some things I recollect aright, 



EVEN so, 193 



Though full a dozen years are done 
Since we two met one winter night — 
Since I was crushed as by a fall ; 
For I have watched and prayed through all 
The shining circles of the sun. 

" I saw you where sad cedars wave ; 
I sought you in a dewy eve 
When shining crickets trill and grieve : 
You smiled, and I became a slave. 
A slave ! I worshipped you at night, 
When all the blue field blossom'd red 
With dewy roses overhead 
In sweet and delicate delight. 
I was devout. I knelt at night, 
I knelt at noon, and tried to pray 
To Him who doeth all things well. 
I tried in vain to break the spell ; 
My prison'd soul refused to rise 
And image saints in Paradise, 
While one was here before my eyes. 
You came between alway, alway. 

" Some things are sooner marred than made. 
The moon was white, the stars a-chill — 
A frost fell on a soul that night, 
And lips were whiter, colder still. 
A soul was black that erst was white. 
And you forget the place — the night ! 
Forget that aught was done or said — 
Say this has pass'd a long decade — 
Say not a single tear was shed — 
Say you forget these little things 1 
Is not your recollection loath ? 
Well, little bees have bitter stings. 
And I remember for us both. 

25 



194 EVEN SO. 

" No, not a tear. Do men complain ? 
The outer wound will show a stain, 
And we may shriek at idle pain ; 
But pierce the heart, and not a word. 
Or wail, or sign, is seen or heard. 

" I did not blame — I do not blame. 
My wild heart turns to you the same, 
Such as it is ; but oh, its meed 
Of faithfulness and trust and truth, 
And gushing confidence of youth, 
I caution you, is small indeed. 

" I follow'd you, I worshipped you. 
And I would follow, worship still ; 
But if I felt the blight and chill 
Of frosts in my uncheerful spring. 
And show it now in riper years 
In answer to this love you bring — 
In answer to this second love, 
This wail of an unmated dove. 
In cautious answer to your tears — 
You, you know who taught me disdain. 
But deem you I would deal you pain ? 
I joy to know your heart is light, 
I journey glad to know it thus, 
And could I dare to make it less ? 
Yours — you are day, but I am night. 

" God knows I would descend to day 
Devoutly on my knees, and pray 
Your way might be one path of peace 
Through bending boughs and blossopi'd trees, 
And perfect bliss through roses fair ; 
But know you, back — one long decade — 
How fervently, how fond I pray'd ? — 
What was the answer to that prayer ? 

\ 



I 



EVEN so. 19s 



I 

I 



" The tale is told, and often told 
And lived by more than you suppose — 
The fragrance of a summer rose 
Press'd down beneath the stubborn lid, 
When sun and song are hushed and hid, 
And summer days are |;ray and old. 

" We parted so. Amid the bays 
And peaceful palms and song and shade 
Your cheerful feet in pleasure stray'd 
Through all the swift and shining days. 

" You made my way another way, 
You bade it should not be with thine — 
A fierce and cheerless route was mine : 
But we have met, at last, to-day. 

" You talk of tears — of bitter tears — 
And tell of tyranny and wrong, 
And I re-live some stinging jeers. 
Back, far back, in the leaden years. 
A lane without a turn is long, 
1 muse, and whistle a reply — 
Then bite my lips to crush a sigh. 

" You sympathize that I am sad, 
I sigh for you that you complain, 
I shake my yellow hair in vain, 
I laugh with lips, but am not glad. 



..." His was a hot love of the hours. 
And love and lover both are flown, 
And you walk, like a ghost, alone. 
He sipped your sunny lips, and he 
Took all their honey : now the bee 
Bends down the heads of other flowers, 



196 EVEN SO. 

And other lips lift up to kiss . . . 

• • • I am not cruel, yet I find 

A savage solace for the mind 

And sweet delight in sa3ring this . . . 

Now you are silent, white, and you 

Lift up your hands as making sign. 

And your rich lips lie thin and blue 

And ashen . . . and you writhe, and you 

Breathe quick and tremble ... is it true 

The soul takes wounds, gives blood like wine ? 



..." No, not so lonely now — I love 
A forest maiden : she is mine ; 

And on Sierras' slopes of pine, v 

The vines below, the snows above, | 

A solitary lodge is set 
Within a fringe of watered firs ; 
And there my wigwam fires bum, 
Fed by a round brown patient hand, 
That small brown faithful hand of hers 

That never rests till my return. < 

The yellow smoke is rising yet ; 
Tiptoe, and see it where you stand 
Lift like a column from the land. 

" There are no sea-gems in her hair, 
No jewels fret her dimpled hands, ^ 

And half her bronzen limbs are bare . 
But round brown arms have golden bands, 
Broad, rich, and by her cunning hands 
Cut from the yellow virgin ore, 
And she does not desire more. 
I wear the beaded wampum belt 
That she has wove — the sable pelt 



EVEN so. 197 



That she has fringed red threads around 

And in the morn, when men are not, 

I wake the valley with the shot 

That brings the brown deer to the ground. 

And she beside the lodge at noon 

Sings with the wind, while baby swings 

In sea-shell cradle by the bough — 

Sings low, so like the clover sings 

With swarm of bees ; I hear her now, 

I see her sad face through the moon . . . 

Such songs ! — ^would earth had more of such ! 

She has not much to say, and she 

Lifts never voice to question me 

In aught I do . . . and that is much. 

I love her for her patient trust, 

And my love's fortyfold return — 

A value I have not to learn 

As you ... at least, as many must . . . 

. . . "She is not over tall or fair; 
Her breasts are curtained by her hair. 
And sometimes, through the silken fringe, 
I see her bosom's wealth, like wine, 
Burst through in luscious ruddy tinge — 
And all its wealth and worth are mine. 
I know not that one drop of blood 
Of prince or chief is in her veins ; 
I simply say that she is good, 
And loves me with pure womanhood. 
• • • When that is said, why, what remains ? 

. . . .< You seem so most uncommon tall 
Against the lonely ghostly moon. 
That hurries homeward oversoon. 
And hides behind you and the pines ; 
And your two hands hang cold and small. 
And your two thin arms lie like vines, 



198 EVEN so. 

Or winter moonbeams on a wall. 
• • • What if you be a weary ghost, 
And I but dream, and dream I wake ? 
Then wake me not, and my mistake 
Is not so bad : let's make the most 
Of all we get, asleep, awake — 
Take all we get with greedy cheek. 
And waste not one sweet thing at all ; 
God knows that, at the best, life brings 
The soul's share so exceeding small 
That many mighty souls grow weak 
And weary for some better things, 
And hungered even unto death. 
Laugh loud, be glad with ready breath. 
For after all are joy and grief 
Not merely matters of belief? 
And what is certain, after all, 
But death, delightful, patient death ? 

cool and perfect peaceful sleep, 
Without one tossing hand, or deep 
Sad sigh and catching in of breath ! 

" Be satisfied. The price of breath 
Is paid in toil. But knowledge is 
Bought only with a weary care, 
And wisdom means a world of pain . . 
Well, we have suffered, will again, 
And we can work and wait and bear, 
Strong in the certainty of bliss. 
Death is delightful : after death 
Breaks in the dawn of perfect day. 
Let question he who will : the may 
Throws fragrance far beyond the wall. 

1 pass no word with such : 'tis fit 
To pity such : therefore I say 
Be wise and make the best of it ; 
Content and strong against the fall. 



EVEN so, 199 



" Death is delightful. Death is dawn, 
The waking from a weary night 
Of fevers unto truth and light. 
Fame is not much, love is not much, 
Yet what else is there worth the touch 
Of lifted hands with dagger drawn ? 
So surely life is little worth : 
Therefore I say. Look up ; therefore 
I say. One little star has more 
Bright gold than all the earth of earth. 

" Yet we must labor, plant to reap — 
Life knows no folding up of hands — 
Must plough the soul, as ploughing lands, 
In furrows fashioned strong and deep. 
Life has its lesson. Let us learn 
The hard long lesson from the birth. 
And be content ; stand breast to breast. 
And bear and battle till the rest. 
Yet I look to yon stars, and say. 
Thank Christ, ye are so far away 
That when I win you I can turn 
And look, and see no sign of earth. 



..." You stand up so uncommon tall, 
Your back against the falling moon. 
And all your limbs are still, and all 
Your raiment is as snow and stone. 
What if I called you mine, my owti ? 
What if I kissed you, mouth to mouth, 
In all the passion of my South, 
And should possess you oversoon ?" . , • 

He reached ... he touched the marble stone : 
He started up, he stood alone, 



] 






2O0 E VEN SO, 

And up against the Grecian sky 
White-marbled desolation stood. 
The gaunt wolf hurried to- the wood, 
Within the wall, the owlet's cry 
Was only heard ; the silent blonde, 
The brown wife with her babe at noon 
That blessed him in the land beyond, 
The mountain scene, the cedar trees, 
The stormy and uncertain seas. 
And all that he did see or seem 
To see, had faded as a dream, 
And fallen with ihe marble moon. 




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